Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Lesson from the Master

Botticelli, Velazquez, Turner, Raphael, Goya, Da Vinci, Matisse, Monet, Durer, Degas, David, Picasso, Alberti and Jan van Eyck. One would expect to encounter these artistic masters of the Renaissance, Fauves, Realist, and Impressionist periods in an Art History survey course at the collegiate level. However, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC presents viewers with the opportunity to view multiple works by these renowned artists during a single visit to the Museum’s West Gallery. I intentionally started this blog post with a long and formidable list of master artists. What you may or may not be aware of is that one of the artists I mentioned lost his hearing following a bout with cholera and struggled to accept his condition. That artist went on to produce paintings that scholars, critics, and students’ today acclaim for their innovative use of lighting techniques, candidness, and symbolism. Yet, when I look at Goya’s masterpiece I reflect on the remarkable accomplishments made by an individual, who struggled to accept his own disability, upon the art world. Though I’m not an artist, from Goya’s work I’ve learned a valuable lesson that I would like to share with you. We must not let the stigma of having a disability interfere with our dreams or our belief in what we can achieve. Goya used his own personal struggle in accepting disabilities as an opportunity to enrich his understanding of himself and the world and as Goya discovered, disabilities are a source of strength and diversity that make the world a better place.

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