That time I touched a Monet painting

I’m hoping I won’t get arrested or snubbed by the art world for fessing up to this,  so I would like to stress before I get started that this was a TOTAL ACCIDENT and also occurred when I was 11.

It all started when my class went on a school excursion to the art gallery about 2 months earlier. I was one of those goody goody kids who never did anything wrong and got good marks and helped the teacher and all of those boring things. We did a tour of the gallery and I stood near the front and listened attentively and even tried my hardest not to giggle at the paintings with boobs in them.

gustave1(photo: hotflick.net)

One painting I found particularly interesting was one of Monet’s Haystacks paintings (and no,  I don’t have a photo,  do you think I would break TWO art gallery rules?!!). Anyway,  the reason that I particularly liked this one is because it reminded me of Gustav in Ever After, which is was one of my favourite movies. So I guess I listened very intently at this part, because otherwise there is no way that I would have remembered about the grass two months later.

You see,  Monet is renowned for doing his landscape paintings outside,  rather than doing a quick sketch outside and then filling it in with paint in the comfort of his studio. And the proof of this is hidden in the bottom right-hand corner of one of his haystack paintings, where a single blade of grass is stuck in the paint for eternity.  The tour guide showed us this with great excitement (because let’s face it,  when does a painting worth $$ ever come to Adelaide?), and we all had a turn at squinting to see the blade of grass – I can confirm,  it was there!

Okay I give in, here’s a photo:

monet1(photo: ABC)

The tour moved on and we spent a long time looking at paintings of a very green looking Australia and war heroes and some confusing sculptures.  I filled out my little excursion questionnaire like a good kid and then jumped on the bus with everyone else. Little did I know that one day I would be different from them, as I would have touched a Monet! #foreshadowing

Two months later my family was in Canberra, visiting my grandparents.  It was the usual type of rellie run for us: long car trips sandwiching our time spent hanging at our grandparents’ house (which is pretty great, by the way). Nevertheless, we were very excited when my Grandad offered to take us to the Egyptian Mummy exhibit at the art gallery.

Before we even got to see the Mummies, however,  Mum wanted to do a quick run around the French Impressionists exhibit.  Ugh. Not more art, WE WANT MUMMIES.

haystacks (Photo: My impression of an impressionist’s impression. I know, it is stunning. Also, DO NOT TOUCH, it is worth millions) 

It’s safe to say that we did our absolute best to hurry Mum, but then I saw something out of the corner of my eye – those haystacks! To show off my academic prowess I marched Mum over to the painting and told her about the tiny blade of grass.

‘Where is it?’

‘It’s right there!’

‘Where?’

‘THERE!!!!!!’ Unfortunately I pointed while saying this,  and because of my rage at both my Mum’s poor eyesight and being late for the Mummies, I didn’t have the greatest hand-eye coordination, and my finger just lightly STABBED THE PAINTING.

Enter SECURITY GUARD. It is his job to stop people from touching paintings so he was very gruff.

‘EXCUSE ME? DID YOU JUST TOUCH THAT?’

Gulp. ‘Noooooo.’

‘MISS YOU NEED TO STAND FURTHER BACK PLEASE. ‘

‘Yes sorry,  we were just looking at the grass.’

I was terrified,  even though he was probably a very nice security guard. I think my mum noticed that I was trembling with fear/embarrassment/more fear, so she suggested that we hurry away to look at the Mummies.

Never have I been more excited to look at a bunch of dead green preserved people. 

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