Young connoisseur of art

I can’t believe I haven’t told you yet about the little connoisseur of art that I’ve got at home. How could I miss this one? Here it goes…

Olga and I are not very big lovers of art. We listen to music, watch movies, and get to see some photographs here and there. We have a couple of books with paintings and photographs and, if we are lucky, one book on visual art history and appreciation.

We also have a total of three reproductions of Vincent van Gogh paintings hanging framed in our living room. These are the famous Irises, View of Arles with Irises in the Foreground, and La Crau with Peach Trees in Blossom.

And these images are the most interesting targets of Maxim’s visual inspection of our apartment. Nothing interests him more than these. He can notice any of these images from much further than he is supposed to be able to focus from. He can watch each of them for a really long time. I mean, probably hours if we let him to. He studies them so patiently that I can remember only one person doing so – he was some art freak in cheap suit and thick glasses in one of the art museums in St. Petersburg. (My mother used to educate me a lot about art when I was a kid, that’s how I got in that museum.) The only thing that calms me down is that Maxim is only one and a half month and is interested in anything that has colors, and that freak was like 30 years old.

Maxim’s interest in art makes my head boil with thoughts. For example, I am wondering where from he could get this interest. He is obviously too young to develop it on his own, so that must have been genetically passed on to him. And if it was passed on to him, than by who? Maybe that was Olga. Or maybe that came from some distant relative like a grandmother or something. But what if that came from me? Do I even have these genes? And if I have them, than, maybe, my recently discovered hobby of photography has continuation in something more seriuos…

And that I get carried far away. I am thinking about how what kids do makes their parents think of origins. And how kids’ behaviour helps their parents to better understand themselves. The child does something and parent think where did this came from. And if the parent thinks hard enough and looks close enough, he (or she) might find that origin. And he (or she again) will understand that he (she) passed that onto the kid himself (herself, doh!). And did so without even noticing. But did so, because it that thing is imporant. Not only consious level, but below. And that changes the understand of thyself.

And than I go on to wonder how can I learn more about myself from my son. And I understand that the only way to learn more from him is to give him more opportunities to learn about this world. This way he will show me what is important to him, and that will help me understand what is important to me.

So I sit there, hold Maxim on my lap and let me stare into those van Gogh’s reproductions all he wants. And I watch him. And I watch those reproductions. And I try to see what he sees in them.

P.S.: While writing this post I decided to find the same images online and link to them. When I did, I discovered that they differe a lot from what we have hanging on our walls. The techniques are different, the colors, and even the formats. I now wonder about how do originals look.

P.P.S.: I guess my first Post Scriptum (P.S.) kind of proves the point I was making about kids helping parents to discover things…

P.P.P.S.: That Vincent van Gogh website is really excellent. Check it out for more works of great master, historical commentary, and analysis.

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