I have found the real portrait of Dorian Grey.
Unknown Artist, French, 19th Century
Dorian Grey. The man that Oscar Wilde brought to life with his hedonistic machinations in 1890 – or so the general public thought. The man that has lived in legend, fable, and table talk for centuries. The man that embodies sensuality and indulgence to the extreme. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have found him.
Wilde wrote that Dorian’s original portrait was a full-length painting, finally destroyed as the debaucherous man came to his senses and took his own life. This made a fitting ending for the Victorian sensibilities of that time, allowing the writer to retain some semblance of not being too disastrously corrupting to the public. The ultimate playboy had to meet a just end. But – what if he didn’t? What if he is still around? Or, another person came along to pick up his mantel and let go of his soul?
The perfect place to store such a treasure would be a glorious, little Fine Art Museum, standing in nowhere New England, USA. More specifically, Springfield, MA. Hiding in plain sight, if you will. A place that gets very little foot traffic, but has enough valuable Impressionist and Italian Renaissance art to make it worth decent security. Not that a sweet, innocent girl like myself would ever think about security procedures with a Monet haystack sitting right in front of me . . . Oh no, not me!
The Gallery of Impressionist Art - Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Wandering through this treasure trove of delights, completely alone, I feel like I can share these secrets with a certain few. Another discovery – Surrealism started way, way, way before our Modern Surrealists like to take credit for! Yes, the Dutch were actually responsible for this type of artful thinking, like 400 years before the modern movement. Specifically a man named Hieronymous Bosch, who lived until 1516, and inspired a plethora of followers and students with his hellish, crazy imagination. Seriously, who knew?
Christ in Limbo, Follower of Hieronymus Bosch, active 1550s
In a town where every café in the city closes by 2 or 3pm, and then it’s only Dunkin Doughnuts or nothing, there is one of the best museums I have ever been to. With a Degas sculpture, and Canaletto’s, Pissarro’s, and a Monet. There is even one of my home girl, Geogia O’Keefe’s, pieces of glorious Southwest. And, of course, Mr. Dorian Grey’s portrait.
Phenomenal writer of the beautiful, and the strange, Haruki Murakami wrote in one of his first books, “There are wells, deep wells, dug in our hearts. Birds fly over them.”
Let’s be a little chickadee sometimes. Or even an albatross. You might just get a private viewing of some of the world’s best art; hidden away somewhere no one thinks to look.