I visited Boston Loves Impressionism at the MFA on its opening day, February 14th, in an effort to escape the never-ending cycle of Mods and Bapst that make up my typical weekend at BC. I dragged along my somewhat befuddled boyfriend with me, who agreed to go because not only was it free with our BC ID but, like most guys, he was in it to see the mummies in the Egypt exhibit.
Priceless works of art? Meh. Cursed corpses? Now we’re talking.
Let it be noted that I am not a Fine Arts Major. I have taken a grand total of one art class, in which I painted a series of miserable still lifes. And though I have always loved visits to the art museum, I have never been on the level of the hipster kids from Tufts, in plaid, gushing over a Van Gogh. But something about this exhibit caught my eye.
The unique connection it has to this city, to the residents of Boston, is apparent the moment you walk in to the gallery. The top thirty favorite paintings, decided on by museum-goers on Pinterest (it’s not just for cupcake recipes and make up tutorials, people). Three works, chosen by average Bostonian museum goers, as all time favorites, greet you as you enter: Van Gogh’s Houses at Auvers, Monet’s Water Lillies, and Degas’ famous statue Little 14-Year-Old Dancer.
There’s a certain eerie appeal to all Van Gogh’s work, and when you read the brief description on the wall, you realize he painted this quaint countryside scene, busting with color and life, merely months before his suicide. It made me stop and look a little harder, try to understand the troubled genius a little more.
The innocence of the little bronze ballerina statue next to it provided stark contrast. It took me back to lighter times of pre-k ballet-tap class, and thoughts of Sugar Plum fairies and Swan Lake. Monet’s Water Lilies was equally soothing, a foggy pond dappled with colorful lilies peeking out.
Trying to impress my boyfriend with my limited art knowledge, I pointed out Water Lilies and showed him how there was no black in the painting- even the shadows were made of color. I’m not sure if it was my artsy babbling or the colorful masterpieces that hooked him (I’m guessing the latter), but he shared in my marvel of the rest of the top 30 favorite of Boston locals.
Renoir’s pink and blue sky over a Venetian canal will make you want to book the first plane ticket to Italy. Monet’s Valley of the Creuse (Sunlight Effect) depicts a flowered countryside so beautiful you’ll want to grab a picnic basket and spend the afternoon in the sunny meadow. It was an escape from school: from papers and obligations, club meetings and dining halls.
Go because slush and snow covers the ground and there’s no possibility of picnics in meadows. Go because it’s a romantic date; go because it’s free. Go to Boston Loves Impressionism because you can’t go to Paris or Italy. There will always be another party or pregame. Go experience art.