Has Visual Art Ever Made You Cry?

No. 61 (Rust and Blue) by Mark Rothko
By Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23217157
No. 61 (Rust and Blue) by Mark Rothko

I am an acrylic painter living in Southwestern Indiana who publishes art related blog posts regularly. Sign up to receive updates from my blog at the bottom of this page. 😊

I was in deep thought while traveling today, husband asleep in the passenger seat, daughter watching a movie in the back seat. “River of Dreams” by Hayley Westenra started playing and almost immediately brought me to tears, as always, and as more than one of her songs can accomplish when I listen. The tempo, the notes, the rhythm, pretty much everything about the song moves me to cry every time. Then it occurred to me that a painting has never moved me to shed tears, or any piece of 2D art for that matter, which is ironic since I’m a painter. I am often very moved by paintings, but not to the point of crying.

Mark Rothko’s massive color field paintings, as shown above, have been known to move people to the point of tears.  I’ve experienced a pretty wide range of emotions from viewing visual art, but have cried only once, which was precipitated by a piece sculpted by a Central European artist. I didn’t even see it in person either, but simply saw a photo of it online.

Since I love communicating visually through the arts, why is it that I haven’t cried over more than one piece of visual artwork? Furthermore, why haven’t I been compelled, until now really, to create work that moves others in that same way?

The musical arts, literary arts, and performing arts can evoke sadness in me much more easily than the visual arts, probably due to the static nature of most visual art. I’ve been in the car crying over a sad song and flooded with tears on my face from watching a ballet or another form of dance countless times, and I wish I could say paintings have brought me to tears, but they have not. I’ve even had my share of visiting large museums in many cities, too, including Boston, New York City, and Chicago, and  I’ve seen some pretty major and historical paintings in person.

If you’ve ever cried as a result of viewing art, was it a 2D or 3D piece? Was it the sheer size of the piece, the colors, the content, the subject, or the movement of the piece that brought you to tears? Was it because it struck a personal chord with you? I would love to hear how art moves you and about what piece(s) have made you cry.

After thinking about this and having a meaningful conversation with my husband today about this subject, it is now my career life’s quest to create a painting (or more) that can make people cry. I say “life quest” because who knows, it may take a lifetime, if it ever happens at all. But before that, I am hoping to find a painting that can move me to the point of crying just as the European artist’s sculpture.

Cheers!
Lori

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