Saturday, August 29, 2009

For the love of Winged Victory

Many moons ago I attended a local community college by the name of North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC). While there I took an art history class. Simple enough. Many struggling students take classes they think they can cinch an easy 4.0 on, right? WRONG!

This class was taught by an old curmudgeon teacher that had been around since the days the Louvre was built. At least we all thought so! He was eccentric, old (by my 19yr old impression) and extremely knowledgeable in all things art related. I wish I could remember his name to due him the honor he deserves.

What he did for me, aside from hand me my ass on a platter along with a 2.0 grade, was introduce me to a piece of art that to this day takes my breath away and often bring me to tears. Why I have this reaction I have no idea. All I know is that it's the same as it was over 20 years and hasn't diminished the slightest.

Mr Peabody! Set the Wayback Machine to 1985 please!

Imagine if you will a 20 year old young woman, fresh off a farm in Clear Lake, Iowa. At the moment she is standing in a side entrance to the Louvre in Paris, France with her current boyfriend, John Armstrong. This young woman is extremely naive, open minded, and just can NOT believe that she is in Paris, France (courtesy of the US Army) let alone standing in the Louvre. She has NO IDEA what is about to shake her world to its foundations... She turns a corner... and what does she see...???


There she stands in all her glory as the young woman from Iowa stares in disbelief. Shock sets in. My fingers and toes start to tingle. I can feel the tears start and burn in my eyes. I'm afraid to take a breath... I know what will happen. John stares at me, wondering what's wrong and why I'm not moving forward. I can't hold my breath anymore and I gasp... that's all it takes and the floodgates open! I stand in the Louvre staring at Winged Victory and SOB... gut wrenching, heart rending sobs from the gut that sound like my soul is being torn from my body. The tears are flooding down my face and I'm shaking so hard I start to fall down. John grabs me and holds me with a look of total confusion on his face. I babble over and over again... I can't believe I'm here! I'm just a tomboy from Iowa! I never thought I'd leave the state! and other such nonsense.

To this day I have no clue how long I stood there or how long it took for the shock of seeing Winged Victory in the flesh, so to speak. It is one of THE most profound moments of my life and still has me near tears as I write this. What an incredible event... to view one of the most inspirational pieces of art in the known world. I treasure the memory to this day and am happy and proud to share it all with you.


Rob said...

To have such an intense emotional response to this piece of art is amazing. I wonder what brought forth such feelings. Oh well, it is a gift that you were touched!

Dragonrider said...

Your blog entry brought me to tears while reading it. I know EXACTLY the feeling you mean. I'm often brought to tears by such works of art, but in my case, cinematography is the usual suspect. I don't know how many times I've been left weeping by the likes of Jean Luc Picard, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Admiral Adama, David Fisher or Sookie Stackhouse. It's not the always the storyline, or the delivery by the particular actor. Sometimes, it's the camera angle or the brilliance of the special effects. And when it comes to physical art, there is a certain dark blue oil on canvas painting of a certain remote mountain lake on the planet Pern, hanging on my wall over the mantle in my dining room, that leaves me awestruck every time I look at it.