30 August 2011

A Tale of an Art Museum

Mr. Goldwaithe and Mr. Shreeves took it upon themselves to open an art museum. They sought out many paintings, sculptures, and other works of art to begin their collection. It was in their mind to do something new, to leave behind what their ignorant forebears had valued and instead embrace that which was exciting and fresh.

The works began pouring into the museum. They had paint splattered on canvas, twisted pieces of metal, garbage nailed to boards, cans full of oily rags, and numerous other modern works of art. Displays were set up, and soon the museum was full of visitors.

One day, an old man approached Mr. Goldwaithe and Mr. Shreeves and asked if they had any older pieces. They said there was a room, down in the basement, where an older painting could be found. It had been popular once, the gentlemen explained to the old man, but it did not fit with the museum's theme, and the young would not be interested in it.

The old man made his way to the basement and opened the door. On the opposite wall was a painting of a simple and beautiful landscape. The old man knew the artist well, and had loved his paintings in his youth. The image was marred, however, as someone had added splashes of color, which clashed with the original painting.

Mr. Goldwaithe and Mr. Shreeves explained that they had tried to update the painting for modern audiences, but decided in the end that it was too traditional, despite the changes. The old man looked said at this, but his expression changed to one of determination, and he stepped into the room. He moved to the painting and began painstakingly chipping away at the new blotches of paint.

As he worked, more people entered the room, and some came to assist him. Men, women and children of all ages stood in awe as the original painting came fully into view. As the last chip of offending paint fell to the floor, the old men stepped back and smiled. He did not know if the painting would ever move to its rightful place upstairs, but it was here now, and the people had seen it. For some, it was a reminder of their past, and for others a glimpse of beauty they did not know had ever existed in the world.