is it you?
12 april 2011 Stuur e-mail Alle gedichten bekijken van deze schrijver
Hoop / Liefde / Houden van

I usually do not go to museums. But this time, I couldn't resist this one…

At our office, a group of artists organised an exhibition of contemporary art. All paintings were to be auctioned off once the exhibition finished; and the money was to go to charity.
Walking through the exposé of canvasses; which were mostly made of cotton or linen, I couldn't help but notice how grim, hopeless and bleak they all looked.

All but one tried to call out to me, it was a portrait by an unknown artist. The dirty ash grey colours muted the cries. It was completely silent.
An auctioneer came to our office after a few days and the auction was organised. All paintings were bought by whom they represented, except the one that was silent grey. Nobody bid on it. Just before it was going to be withheld and given back to the painter, I set a price. As nobody bothered to raise the price, I got it for very cheap.

I wrapped it in a cloth and took it home. Although I had other business to attend to, I unpacked the painting and sat it on the sofa. While the other works of art had called out to the audience, this one was silent; a silence which intrigued me.

I pored myself a glass of wine and sat in the chair opposite. All details of the portrait weren’t clear as the colours were covered with a grey beige layer of dirt. I went to the drawer and got a cloth made of pashmina; which is wool of a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas. I started to rub the soft fabric over the dirt layer. The grime gradually came off, slowly revealing a hint of magnificent colour. The more I uncovered, the more colour became visible. After a few hours, and changes of cloth, I could see a tantalising third of the painting. I went back to sit in the chair opposite the sofa; which was now covered in the grime. As I pored myself another glass, I stretched my imagination with how it would look once I had finished.

I squinted and I thought I could see a certain depth underneath. I took another sip of my glass, took the cloth, and continued with unveiling the portraits’ secret. Some areas were difficult; it was like the smudges were branded into the canvas, making them almost impossible remove without leaving scars. With care and all my patience, I succeeded piece by piece. More than half the painting was now done.

I leaned back to rest and admired what I could see. The colours which were previously covered by the grime were clearly visible. The artist must have been a master. The brush strokes looked like as if they were put on the linen by both sun angels for the lighter colours and by night demons for the darker shades.

Night had made room for day. Tired as I was, I continued to clean, hoping I could finish before I would fall asleep from exhaustion.
I decided not to clean it all. I left a small unclean part at the bottom of the painting so I could remember how it looked like when I had bought it.
It was four o’clock the afternoon after when I finally finished.

When I looked up it was as if I saw the complete picture for the first time. The contours, which previously seemed mere random lines, together with the heavenly bright and demon darker colours revealed a person. A person smiling. Not laughing, but smiling, as if she was happy.
Her eyes looked at me with such warmth I could hardly catch my breath. As I came closer it was like she wanted to say something to me. But all stayed quiet, not a sound, nothing.

The painting was so clear and bright, I couldn’t keep it in house. Its illumination made it impossible to go to sleep.
Tired as I was, I took the painting back to the office. As I put your portrait in the middle of the entrance hall, it lit up the entire foyer.

When I left our office I took a last look at you. It may have been fatigue or it may have been my imagination, yet I think I saw you wink at me and say “See you.”

Who knows? I packed my things and went back home; where I fell asleep dreaming.

- Heraldo -

Gecontroleerd door: Anastacia


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