There have been a few times in my life when art hit me over the head so hard I knew I wouldn’t be the same after experiencing it. It was as if in those moments, your life was transformed and you know that you’re no longer in Kansas. Yes there have been other great art loves of mine… Picasso, Latrec, Pollock, Durer, Penn, and others, but three hit me hardest.
Of course I’d seen Renoir’s painings in books but but upon visiting Paris for the first time I first met one in person. It was the eyes. This was nothing like the art books. The eyes were real and they spoke to you. They knew you. My legs were getting wobbly.
The second time was in the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography. They have a wonderful photo library were every shelf is filled with over sized books. I borrowed Edward Westin’s Nudes and in it were the quadriptych of Charis nude on the beach. No it wasn’t the nudity, it was the abstract shapes and forms that were so sensual and tangible. My head was spinning again.
The third time was more recently and I’m embarrassed to admit that I really didn’t know his work. Of course we’ve all heard of him and seen clips over and over but I had never seen an entire movie of his in my adulthood. Unfortunately he’s been immortalized and canonized and even though I enjoyed that simplicity as a child, I was still ignorant.
Just the other night, researching on the internet late at night about circus life, I learned that Charlie Chaplin’s created a feature film titled Circus. It is not considered one of his “greatest” movies because it doesn’t have the range of pathos of his other works and he didn’t even mention it in his autobiography. (That’s a whole fascinating story that you should read about!) So the movie has largely been forgotten.
Don’t let that fool you! This man was a genius. Talk about talent. As one commenter wrote, “Is there anything this man can’t do?”
- Music score
If you want to check out a snipped from the Circus, here’s the first part on youtube. Enjoy and be taken away….
If you’re looking just for a short, here he is performing one of his “bits” from The Gold Rush at a dinner table. This ain’t Charlie, this is the debonair yet silly Charles at a restaurant with friends.