My husband spent the majority of his career in the advertising business, but in order to prepare for that he had to take many art history classes along with his regular studies. When he turned 50, the tables turned on advertising and he had to reimagine himself. The loss of his business led him into fine art and he’s been doing that ever since.
It’s hard to put a price tag on art. When you consider all the years of study, work and experience one must first go through to become an artist, the pay should be comparable to that of a brain surgeon, but today art isn’t valued in the same way. Today you can buy a copy of anyone’s art for a fraction of its worth. Computer imaging and Photo Shop have given way to a whole new set of rules.
I was reminded of that last night as I watched the movie, “The Train,” with Burt Lancaster. The fact that we now have a better internet service has allowed for the viewing of some of the old movies. This one was similar to a movie we had seen in the theatre a few years back – “The Monuments Men,” with George Clooney. Both of these films focused on the art which was stolen by the Germans during WWII – masterpieces by well known artists.
Both flicks made one think about the cost of what these men were fighting for. In “The Train,” it took Burt Lancaster a while to realize the importance of this mission. In the end, he could see the need to preserve these treasures for humanity and the future of the world, but the cost was too great in his opinion. Things should never trump human life. The men in “Monuments Men,” were following orders and lives were spent in the eventual retrieval of those important pieces of art. The works would not have survived had they not succeeded in their efforts – but again, lives were of less value than things of this world.
Would we better off if lives had not been taken in preserving art at all costs? Does it matter that we now can view these original pieces of art and appreciate the time put into them? Do we treasure the spoils of war more than the lives it took to defend them?
As the wife of an artist, I know the time that goes into creating art. It’s a daily struggle. Even when the body is breaking down, there’s a passion in this medium that drives the artist. As a writer and performer I can understand that, because I still feel the need to contribute through my art form.
The truth, however, is that what we do here on this planet has no real relevance. When we die, those things will not go with us. They will not be necessary for what happens beyond the grave. They will be part of what we leave behind. Our worldly treasure cannot buy our salvation or eternal life. The perfect life of Jesus, His death and resurrection is the masterpiece that God created to bring that about. He alone is the only fortune worth preserving. It is our greatest heritage.