Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thoughts on Picasso

Well, I made a slightly more extended foray out of the apartment yesterday. Actually, seeing as I didn't come back until after midnight, I reckon it was MORE than a foray. So let's say I embarked on a venture. :)

Pablo Ruiz Picasso's family settled in Barcelona early on in his life, and he always considered it his home. Near the end of his life, he donated thousands of paintings, sketches, "studies" and doodles to the little museum dedicated to him in the city. I've never been a Picasso fan; it'd be one thing if I admired his work and thought he was a morally corrupt womanizing jerk (think Wagner). But I figure if I hate his lifestyle (5 women, children by 3 of them, and each relationship lasting at most 10 years!) and his abysmal lack of scruples, AND I can't stand his "art" then I really shouldn't waste much time on the guy. So I never really have...and when I tried, I always ended up regretting it. I figured it was a no-brainer when I looked at the options for Barcelona-spent-time; skip Picasso, head for Gaudi, castles, markets, and cafes. But then I saw a flier for the museum's permanent exhibits, and changed my mind. The paintings they showed looked...really cool: "highlighting his early work" it said. I was intrigued, so I went, thinking maybe I'd understand his art better if I knew a little more who he was/where he'd come from.

I ended up
becoming quite impressed with his talent & versatility as an artist-- he really WAS SUPER talented! One quote somewhat sums it up: "As a child, I could paint like a classical master. It has taken me a lifetime to learn to paint like a child." (it's up to you to decide whether or not he really benefitted anyone by doing that last part) The fact remains, though, that as a very young man, he already was painting on a master's level. And even in his phases of pointalism or Cubism or his brush with the Impressionist, he retained his ability to switch back into that first lively, realistic, gentle Classical style. Pieces from the same year show widely differing styles: he truly was a master painter. He did what he did because he meant to, and because he wanted to. That wins my respect.

Cubism, though. What did I think of that? I think (despite my lack of study) that now I sort of understand it... simply put: I still find the style monstrous and a waste of time. :) Picasso was trying to reorganize fragments, to capture bits from every angle and perspective, so you could better see the whole... but if you stick someone's nose in the middle of her forehead, you haven't "better captured her form." You've made a hideous monster! That has all sorts of philosophical implications! Think about it! One big one: whether you acknowledge that there is One who determines how the full form of you (your life) should be organized, or whether you go about reorganizing it however you see fit. One way, you create a monster...

Doesn't that have a lot of bearing on our lives? Those young ones of us are making decisions quite often that affect the shape the rest of our lives will take. We are having to "organize" our Selves as we walk quite day to day. What classes? major? job? life trajectory? time priorities? companions? books read? etc. etc. You older readers, feel free to post some of the implications you see.

Comfort to me as I thought on this: to those of my friends who aren't very sure what God's wanting from them in concrete terms (they don't know what He wants them to be "when they grow up"). Isn't it comforting that God IS Organizing your life, changing you from glory into glory, making you more like Jesus!? I really encourage you to keep seeking His guidance, through His Word and His People, which is how we hear His Spirit. He's not been dragging you down a rabbit trail, trying to wear you out on afterthoughts or red herrings. He KNOWS what He's made you to do, and I am 100% assured by Scripture that He won't leave you in the dark about it.

One more thing that might comfort you is that the journey WITH Him-- THROUGH the waiting and lack of assurance and confusion-- is worth just as much (maybe more) than wherever He ends up wanting you to end up. As you learn faithfulness and joyfulness and how to walk near to God, and gain the abilities to encourage others, and serving EVEN when you don't really "know what you're supposed to be doing", you are growing in Grace! You're experiencing the presence of God; you're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing as a Christian.

I'd rather have His hand forming my life Form than a nose in the middle of my forehead anyday. :)


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