Wednesday, April 14, 2010

American Cultural Observation 201 : The Unasuming Green Barn...

Today I have seen something so unexpected that it shook my whole day. While location scouting for an upcoming video shoot, we ended up at a plantation outside the small town of Ben Wheeler just down the road from us. We met the owner and asked if we could use his magnificent plantation house as a backdrop for our video and he was delighted to oblige. He knew about our work with Mercy Ships and we talked for a bit as he explained the history of the house.

He suddenly asked us if we would like to see his ‘surprise’ house. ‘Uhm yeah’ answered Scott and I, anything to get us to shoot the video on his property… He took us to the back a few buildings in when suddenly we saw an unassuming green -blueish metal barn. Okay, so by now I had visions of a replica doll house and Scott thought of maybe an 1800’s tractor or something that he was burning to show us. We simply had no idea…

I might not remember all the details as I was simply standing there as a courtesy listening with one ear… The gentleman started telling us a tale about how the previous plantation owner went to Europe in the 1950’s. As a side note he reminded us that it is not like these days when you can just pop over for the weekend! She saw and fell in love with something so exquisite while in Italy that she commissioned two local Italian artists to recreate it in detail for two years. After building the ‘barn’, she had one of the artists fly over to install it.

With that he let us in and my heart stopped. I saw something of such incredible beauty that took my breath away.

In this dark barn and with just the far back wall illuminated was…

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

Think it through, we are in a barn in East Texas, and before me suddenly was a life size replica of The Last Supper! Like the original this one measures 450 × 870 centimeters (15 feet × 29 ft) and where the original covers the back wall of the dining hall at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, this one covers the back wall of a barn. Exact dimensions, and with intricate detail as if it was painted yesterday by the master himself.

I found it hard to breath. Both Scott and myself let out a flabbergasted ‘OH MYYYYY GOSH’ at the exact same moment.

It was beautiful.

I don’t think I have ever seen such unexpected beauty. No expectations or studying a guidebook to prepare you… Just suddenly, there it was… in all its unadulterated beauty.

When both Scott and I got our breath back, we beelined to see what the Da Vinci Code was all about! Haha!

Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci was quoted as saying "Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen." Uhm, I am also sure he said it in Latin and not English, but hey, thanks Lennie, I will take that break now!

What ever next will I find in an unassuming blue barn in Texas!

1 comment:

  1. I love this. I love that the painting is there. I love that you found it. I love how you described it. I love that life holds little HUGE surprises like that around every corner. I love how God is into details and hangs out in humble East Texas barns. It's poetry!