My mother died last night. So here I am turning to art as a coping mechanism, at least I think that's what's happening. This blog exists because of my mother. Not just because she put me on this earth, but because she instilled a love of art in me when a was a little girl. She'd take me to museums and art shows, our house was full of art books my brother and I would spend hours poring over. Mum liked to say I had 'the eye', the immediate ability to identify the work of an artist over another. Look at me, a wee Morellian connoisseuse in the making.
She'd always tell me which exhibitions I needed to go see in London, she often knew what was coming even before I did. She had such a brilliant and curious mind, she liked to be well-informed about the things she was passionate about. And every time I'd fly home to see her there would be at least a dozen newspaper cuttings she'd put aside for me to read. She was keen for me to stay connected with my Italian roots, insisted everyone else had learnt from our masters: Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino, Caravaggio, De Chirico, Morandi. Of course she was biased, all Italians are when it comes to art, but she was also extremely competent and open-minded.
When I was studying, mum was the first person I'd send my essays and dissertations to. She'd lie in bed reading them, underlining the odd word she couldn't understand with a pencil, then she'd call me to ask me what they meant. Your English is too difficult for me, she'd say. She always encouraged me, always motivated me to cultivate this passion, and thought I was 'going somewhere'. I guess all parents think that.
Good night mother, thank you for the many gifts you blessed me with. Rest in light and peace.
Roger van der Weyden
Portrait of a Lady, c. 1460
Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art , Washington DC