Friday, February 25, 2011

Art they lovely?

I read an article last week in The Washington Times about an Italian art historian who claims to have finally discovered who the real Mona Lisa is.

He announced at a press conference in Rome that she is actually a he, inspired by a young male assistant of da Vinci. In response, the Louvre essentially threw back its head and laughed.

This got me thinking.

It has been 500 years since the Mona Lisa was painted, and we still have no idea who is behind her smile. I wonder if this was Leonardo’s intention, or if it drives him nuts that we’re still arguing about it, and that his inspiration has never been given proper credit.

In an attempt to avoid similar confusion among historians 500 years in the future, I would like to take this opportunity to provide a verified interpretation of my own personal collection. If anyone is reading this post in the year 2511, this is Leah’s art.

She drew it at church, when she was four.

It is her mother, with orange teeth and legs that protrude from the jawbone, and her father, with yellow horns and blue chest hair.

While Leah's art is more eclectic, Jolie has always tended toward a particular subject matter.

It first emerged in this sketch, which I posted a couple of years ago.

The art...

The inspiration...

Her little brother has been her most prominent subject ever since. This piece was a school assignment, entitled: “What I like to do on a snowy day.”

Art historians will find this work of particular interest, because it is the first sketch of Jolie’s in which we notice the emergence of a secondary inspiration. There is of course, the ever-present baby brother. But if you look beyond the brother, closely, your eye will begin to discern an appearance by the nasty green couch we got free off Craigslist.

I’m no curator, but I find it touching, the way she was able to capture a child’s tender affection for a piece of furniture, in spite of its ragged appearance, musty odor, bacteria, mites, etc.

Unfortunately, every great artist has their tragedy, and Jolie is no exception.

Hers occurred in early January at Macy’s, when her mother fell in love with a cozy, gray tufted sectional. She stood helplessly as her father purchased the couch, arranged for delivery, then explained that the nasty green one would no longer be part of the family. In fact, in would no longer be part of any family, but would be destroyed at the dump in order to protect the DC area from the risk of contamination.

The new couch arrived a month later, and is everything the old is not. Lovely. Cozy. Sanitary. Perfect for the gorgeous white felted pillows my mom bought us.

It is hard to explain then, why it's been three weeks, and we still have not gotten rid of the nasty green one. Every Saturday for three weeks Jack has offered to take it to the dump, and every Saturday I've come up with an excuse to hang on to it for just a little bit longer.

And so it remains in the family room, unapologetically in front of the new couch, while I try to muster up the courage to let it go. I appreciate the value of style and aesthetics, but it seems I also appreciate the value of having something around that my kids can snugl, eat, drink, jump, and pee on without having to worry about consequences.

Maybe Jolie is a more influential artist than I have given her credit.

Maybe beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.


Aunt Marilyn said...

A Masterpiece!!!

Susan said...

I feel very secure knowing that my grandchildren are attached to the old and worn out.

Jane said...

I forgot what I had just read when I saw Jolie jumping, Cal standing (but looking like he is kneeling because the couch sinks so much) and Leah's most perfectly angelic face. I could stare at those faces all day long.

Jodi said...

So funny. Love your writing.

Becca said...

I love that you are holding onto the old couch. I would probably do the same thing, because heaven forbid a crumb get on the new couch! I love the new couch, btw. Great post!

Katie and Jeff said...

I say let them brake in the new couch! New memories to be made! BTW Bella's partner in dance looks so much like Leah, I loved her on sight!

Lara said...

Haha...your green couch and our behemoth entertainment center sitting behind our new entertainment center should get together and start their own living room. :)

Love the kids' pics!

Lee said...

Bravo. Your blog will be read hundreds of years from now not only for your children's art but for the prose you yourself create.

This was a gem Katie.

Memzy said...

I have a girl crush on you.


Kristin said...

HA! Perfect description of Leah's art. LOVE the new couch. Is it velvet or microsuede?

krissiecook said...

This post is especially poignant to me because just minutes ago Kevin and I dragged our free couch out to the curb for disposal. Yes, we picked it up for free on a Craigslist quest, brought it and its sister home and decided that it was too disgusting for human use. Smelled like dog, felt like leftover PB&H, and has not been helping with the cockroach situation. In fact, it lasted only 1 night in our living room. And then 4 months in our garage.
However, I will add that my children have not drawn the nasty couch. So I think we're just lazy, not dedicated to the promotion of living art history.

Julie Knowlton said...

Do you realize your words are art? I would pay to read your blog. Just sayin. You should look into charging people.

It's that good.

Robinson said...

That picture of Leah and Calvin that you took is one of may favorites ever! (and so is everything you write, the way you write, etc.)
You won't be alarmed now when my b-room is done and you see the pics & there is a crusty old toilet sitting right in front of the brand new sparkling one.Old habits die hard...hey! I potty trained my twins on that thing.

Katie said...

Marilyn - Even without the flattery, you are my favorite aunt! But still, keep up the flattery...

Susan - Rest assured, they are also drawn to sparkle & glamor.

Jane - How about you stare at their faces while I'm busy staring at your cooking blog?

Jodi - Thank you! Miss you!

Becca - You get me! I love that they can eat on the old couch. Although considering all the germs it's probably not my best call.

Katie - Sneak a picture of her with your phone!

Lara - Sounds like a plan! I have two broken dressers in the kids room to complete the look.

Lee - Hundreds of years from now, I just hope we're freighbors again. (Wait, is this Flem? Now I'm confused.)

Memzy - Oh good, you got my secret Valentine!!

Kristin - Microfiber! Kid friendly heaven.

Krissi - lol! Please snap a picture. I hear your camera is back.

Julie - Funny you should mention it! Ever since YOUR blog went private, I actually have been charging people to read it. With my password.

Robinson - You sound just like your mother when you write! lol the sparkling toilet!

Jeannie said...

Love this, especially in light of a) just getting new couches, which are faaaaaar less attractive than even your old nasty one, and b) recently finishing "From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" (one of your picks).

After wiping up far too many spills already, I can totally understand the reasoning behind keeping the "beater" couch to preserve the new one.

Lorie said...

Oh! I love the new couch. Memories are hard to let go of, and a couch where you don't have to fight with your children not to eat or drink on it is even HARDER to let go!

Hopefully the cushions have washable slipcovers!

Karen Adair McCain said...

As an artist myself I appreciated this story. When friends or family members draw something, anything, I make them sign and date it, and keep it. I adore your children's art work! It should be framed and hung. And then there's your writing. You need to be printing your post and compiling a book. If its just for your family then its a great family history. I have a feeling you could find a wider audience with whom to share your wit and wisdom with, though. Keep it up!

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