Sunday, August 2, 2009

Not So Original After All

While in Rome, my husband and I found a beautiful painting. The artist was displaying his wares at Piazza Navona, where we discovered him while waiting for our dinner. He was an interesting fellow, with a unique sales technique. We wanted to inquire about the painting, but first we had to wake him from his late afternoon nap. Once roused from sleep, he seemed disinterested in giving us any information about his work. After a little persuasion, and some persistent questions, he livened up a bit. Although he was very likely high (in fact he readily admitted to smoking pot), he was at least coherent enough to know that we were quite interested in making a purchase... His sales pitch hit full steam...

First, he explained to us that he was a much better artist than the other artists on the Piazza. He claimed that none of their work was original. He claimed they all painted the same scenes over and over and only sold them to tourists. While that may have been true, it really wasn't relevant as nobody else had a piece I was interested in purchasing. His next tactic was to explain that not only did the others paint the same scenes repeatedly, they also copied other artists' works... Again, interesting info, but for me, irrelevant. His next strategy was to show us the finer details of his work... The unique elements that he had imaginatively incorporated into the painting... While interesting, we already admired the piece and were merely curious about the price. He ignored our request for a price, and indignantly continued on with his rant about the lack of talent and ingenuity of his fellow artists... He was quite persistent in his attempt to persuade us that he was indeed a gifted and creative artist.

We declined to purchase the painting the first night because we couldn't agree on a price. But the next evening, we returned to his exhibition to buy our painting. The original painting is beautiful, its subject was created by fluid strokes that flow freely across the canvas. The lines of the object are full of energy, movement, and strength. The colors are warm and rich, and perfect for our home.

We bought the painting that second night. In his pot-induced haze, the artist argued with us about price, then he (surprisingly) quickly and adeptly wrapped the canvas for travel.

Yes, I fell in love with a beautiful piece of art... And now I have a new painting hanging on my wall, which will always remind me of our evenings at Piazza Navona.

The day after our purchase, we were browsing a little shop looking for postcards. I smirked when I discovered a postcard that looked curiously similar to one of our art prodigy's paintings... I told The Mister, I bet I can find our painting online in about 10 minutes... Upon our return, I searched and did indeed find our original painting.

Yep, the original is a beautiful work of art... Unfortunately, it isn't hanging on our wall. But I'm not sorry we bought it. I've framed it and hung it on a prominent wall in our living room. It's not only pleasant to admire, but I enjoy the private joke that is the story behind it's acquisition... And (thankfully) we didn't spend a fortune! Oh, and as an aside, the actual (original) artist credited with this piece isn't even a man... The artist who painted the original is actually Marta Gottfried Wiley.


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