We went to art gallery once.
You have been there several times with your friends. The first time you went there was with a friend who was also a sculptor. I couldn’t remember whether you told me he had his works showcased during that exhibition, but he gave you a very insightful tour on arts. On its details and perspectives. How it should be interpreted and quite a handful on technical bits.
That particular visit sparked your interest in arts. Or maybe it was much earlier during your visit to the Louvre.
You considered yourself lucky; you had someone on the inside to elaborate and helped you to digest this newly-found interest of yours. After all, like you said, the beauty lies in the details, the lighting, the compositions and techniques of creating the masterpiece itself.
After reading up bits and pieces of Art History, I believed you. Gericault took a severed heads from corpses at the hospital to study them and produced The Raft of Medusa. Canaletto stayed in the dark for hours or days to trace the building or naked model in the bright sunlight outside. And Sistine Chapel was a blend of colours which compounds originated from plant root, clams and same substance used for insecticide.
I did not know that then.
I remembered walking around with you in the gallery that day. You were enthusiastically trying to explain some paintings based on the interpretations you have learned. Basic art details you were excited about. I listened but I refrained myself from telling you that I dropped Art subject in school because of the boring drills and techniques that comes with it. Everybody seemed to be pre-occupied with producing perfect forms.
I wanted substance.
I wanted stories. Context.
Reasons for doing things that we did.
Later, you gave me room to move about on my own along the gallery walls. I was searching for a painting that communicates. One that would literally jumped out and grabbed hold of me.
And I eventually found one.
You must have heard of Stendhal who toured the church in Florence, and almost fainted from joy of viewing the paintings and works of art. It overwhelmed him.
This was just a simple painting with thick gold frame at the corner of the wall. Of a lake scenery with mountains. It caught me.
I stood. I did not move. Looking at it I felt bound and captivated.
It felt like I have found a tiny hole in a fabric of time and stayed in it. With my sight glued to this painting, I seemed to forget where I was. While my form was stuck in this reality, my whole being was on the other side of this painting.
I could not describe what took me into the innermost side of my soul. I kept staring at the colours. That was all I remembered doing.
Until your soft hand touched my face.
And you brought me home just like that. From a journey that I did not understand.
It felt safe looking into your eyes again.
We held hands and walked away. We left the painting there.
You have always known that side of me. You would find me at times to be deeply concealed in thoughts. Introspective. You said I had that distant look in my eyes sometimes. Intense but detached.
Secluded in my own thoughts. Ones that I did not readily share with others.
Except you. You had seen it.
You had seen my mind at play. The darker tone. The secret portrait. It was what attracted you in the first place.
I observed that after all these years we have known each other; there will always be part of you that reacted intensely to the deepest and darkest side of me. It has an oscillating effect on you. At times you find it titillating. And at times it intimidated you.
Either way you would react to it. Passionately.
Somehow I have known that all along.