A true perspective on man

At first glance the large painting seemed ominous, almost disturbing. The colors were so dark and the brushstrokes so heavy-handed that, from where I stood, there appeared to be something angry in the picture.

In the great impressionist gallery, the Jeu de Paume in Paris, one can study the works from just a few inches away. I was very close but off to one side of this particular painting. Wanting to see better, I stepped back a few paces and stood directly in front of the masterpiece. How surprised I was at the completely different impression I had from this vantage point. It wasn't disturbing at all! Instead of being dark and turbulent, the picture was vivid, a magnificent life-size portrait of an elegant lady in a rich velvet gown that seemed to fill and almost to flow off the canvas. And the expression on the woman's face was tender and appealing, incredibly lifelike.

May 7, 1984

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