© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Perspective: Stuck In The Details

Art Institute of Chicago, photo by Elsa Glover
Detail, "Moss Roses In A Vase" by Edouard Manet


Recently I visited the Manet exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Edouard Manet’s later paintings of garden flowers depart from traditional paintings that show deliberate arrangements in fancy vases. I studied Manet’s haphazardly arranged flowers in clear glass containers, their lower extremities on view for everyone to see. This change in subject matter manipulates one’s perspective by realizing aspects usually hidden. Knowing there is more than meets the eye allows a viewer to consider those imperfect details in their true sense. 


I’ve always enjoyed impressionism because I can play with how I view art. Standing close, everything looks blurry and full of action. Standing farther back, a clearer image emerges. Squinting, I can see the painting’s strong understructures. Impressionist paintings allow me to shape the bigger picture. 


When the world moves so quickly, people bog themselves down in the details, not always seeing strong structures or clarity. Unclear vision and perspective blur people’s understanding. 


As that occurs, it helps to step back from what is in front. Creating distance tightens impressions and creates a chance to see the bigger picture -- the details as they fit together. 


While distance helps create better impressions, embracing imperfections and celebrating them like the garden flowers in a clear glass container allows for more truth. If we view our world in these ways, we may find more perspective and more to celebrate than when we are stuck in the details. 


I’m Elsa Glover and that’s my perspective. 


Related Stories