Thursday, April 24, 2014
What is the Painting that Most Reflects Me?
The Baroque/Rococo era is to excess and decadence as the Neo-Classical is to the fundamental and moral revival. With the discovery of the ash covered Pompeii, came the rediscovery of the ancient Greek and Roman virtues of prudence, temperance, justice and courage. This moral resurgence is reflected in the art of Angelica Kauffmann’s Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi as she places greater love upon her children than upon the treasures of the world. Children are eternal. Families are eternal. Souls are eternal. Cornelia kindly, but boldly sets forth her fundamental belief of the enduring principles that preserve civilizations.
I love this painting because it portrays the role of an attentive mother who understands her influential role in guiding her treasured children to become principled leaders in society. It is often a great sacrifice for a woman to leave the things of the world for a time and put her full focus on the guidance and teaching of children, but the result is usually far greater than the treasures the world has to offer. Cornelia understood this exultant end when the other woman asked why her clothes were not elegant or why she did not adorn herself with jewels since she had such a wealthy husband. Of course, Cornelia expressed to the woman that she had no need of worldly treasure or jewels, for her children were her greatest jewels - her treasures.
Another reason I love this painting is that it reflects a major turning point in my life as I struggled past the conventional and status quo to a better place in order to think for myself and do what was right for my individual family. This change brought bitter enemies for a time, but those same people eventually perceived the confidence deep within me that the rich woman sees, but does not understand yet in Cornelia. It is a confidence that has potential to lead others to think outside the box and discover new ways of seeing our purpose in life.