How Grief and Hope Inspire Art

Claude Monet, Rue Montorgueil, Paris, Festival of June 30, 1878. 1878. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France. WikiCommons PD-23

It took less than an hour for the graphics to appear. Some were broad brush stroked images, some  were highly sophisticated photographs.  The terrorist attack in Paris that at the time of this writing has taken nearly 130 lives has so moved people around that world that social media is full of images, not of carnage but of faith and hope and of course, grief. Some chose to post Claude Monet’s Rue Montorgueil,  Paris, Festival of June 30 1878, French flags flying and the street filled with carefree revelers under a blue sky. It was created to celebrate “Peace and Work” as the country emerged from its defeat in the Franco-Prussian war.  Others posted on Facebook vintage video of Edith Piaf, the little sparrow who fought her own pain and sang of love, anguish, courage and life in her beloved France. Still others posted their own photographs of the City of Lights, links to paintings by famous Impressionists, pictures of city halls and interiors of airliners lit up in the blue, white and red of the French flag.

I see few words of hatred and more of grief and solidarity with those who suffer at the hands of terrorists not only in France, but worldwide. The tear-filled eye reflecting the colors of the French flag, the child’s drawing of a bent Eiffel tower say so much in a simple image. We must fight hatred in ourselves and in those who want to dominate others with it.

Ironically today is Claude Monet’s birthday.  What would he have said about what happened to his Paris?

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