We all have emotional and mental triggers that pluck at our hearts… things that stir up feelings and remind us of old times, good and bad, and can bring us to tears instantly. I had such a moment today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
It had been years since I was last there and I was so excited to see the special exhibits as well as some of the same works that I fondly recall seeing as a kid. The Renaissance art for example, as well as the Medieval art, all brought back so much joy. I always loved visually dissecting each sculpture and would slowly and obsessively absorb every curve, twist, and detail that the artist intricately left behind for my eyes to behold. Oh, it was so refreshing to soak in some of my old favorites again. Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, but there was one painting that knocked me off of my feet. I had long forgotten about it, until I happened to cross a hallway opening and look over my right shoulder… BOOM! I couldn’t breathe… I was pulled like a magnet to this piece and as I got closer my eyes filled with tears and I started hyperventilating.
How could I forget about this painting? A copy of it hung in the hallway of my house growing up for years. My brother and I used to stare at it and make up our own fairy tales about what we saw in the painting. So many mixed emotions… memories of my mother… and the tales my brother and I would create, it just took me back.
The original piece of work is much larger than I recall and even more magnificent than the print could ever capture. I really had to contain myself and I wanted to be alone with this gorgeous painting so I could just stare and soak it all in. The painting is titled “The Storm” and it was painted by French artist Pierre-Auguste Cot in 1880.