Paint by Numbers

As we moved on from the Roman Empire and the Aeneid in lecture. I didn’t expect paintings to hold really any interest to me at all. While I do think some paintings are beautiful, I have never been much of a fan of them, especially the ones that just has paint splatters on them, or just of few dots of paint. I never really liked going to art museums, or museums in general, until more recently. So, I was not interested when our lecturer talked about paintings. What did at least somewhat interest me though, is the contrast between beautiful and sublime paintings. When I did go to museums, I remember that beautiful paintings never really grabbed me, to me it was just a painting of some nice stuff. It was always the more darker painting that grabbed me. I liked all the dark colors and the tone it created for the picture. For example, this painting by Thomas Cole, which was shown in lecture, creates a tone of chaos and panic.


Now, that probably says something about me, but I won’t comment on that right now. Some of the paintings showed in lecture actually did gravitate to me, even the more beautiful ones. Why? Probably because they were of ruins. It’s just so interesting to me to see everything that is left of some great city or empire. That once thousands, maybe millions, of people lived in this place and now all that is left is rubble and rocks. Being relatively well-traveled for a person my age, I have never really seen grand ruins in real life, the closest was when I went to New York City and visited the World Trade Center when I was about eight years old. I’m also the type of person who wants to travel more and would love to visit Italy to see these ruins in real life. Anyways, like the lecturer talked about I think I really love painting and pictures of ruins because of memento mori. Everything must come to an end eventually and ruins are what is left behind. It makes me think of ruins in a more hypothetical sense because when I die I wonder what will be left of me? While I hope that as a Film and Media major that a few of my movies will outlast me. But when I really think about it, will anyone watch my movies a hundred years from now? As a sort of movie buff myself, I know that I am not all that well versed in classic and old movies. I still haven’t seen The Godfather, let alone Casablanca! So, while the idea of having something of yours left behind of you when you die is nice, won’t the wind eventually blow what is left of your ruins away? While some people like Stanley Kubrick or Vincent Van Gogh has legacies after their death, as later generations of people live on, will they eventually be left in the dust as well? We only know about Vincent Van Gogh and other artists because we are taught about them in school, but won’t schools eventually stop teaching about Van Gogh if another amazing dead painter comes along? Won’t he eventually be so far back in history that we cease talking about him? The question that I leave you all with is – will all of our ruins eventually just disappear and be forgotten about? Or do will we somehow live forever through those ruins?


2 thoughts on “Paint by Numbers

  1. Edit: While I still think our ruins can eventually be forgotten about. I do not think we will ever forget Vincent Van Gogh or Stanley Kubrick. Looking back, I was probably saying that to be more dramatic.


  2. This is a great post! The questions you pose are very insightful and my brain is going on a tangent thinking about it. I do agree that we as humans try with all our might to make things that outlast us. We create films, write books, compose music, build grand and illustrious cities, all for the hope of extending our legacies. However, it is an extremely difficult thing to do. I’m sure there are countless amounts of influential people from years before us that we know nothing about; their footprints on the earth have been virtually erased. I do think, however, that there exist some people who have done things so impressionable and momentous that they will be remembered tremendously beyond their time, like Steve Jobs or Nelson Mandela. I also find it interesting how the phenomenon that you mentioned, about being entranced by the ruins of a once grand city, was brought up in class weeks later. We talked about the concept of ruin porn and who people are fascinated by the remains of a once prosperous city.


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