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Writing Prompt: The Third of May

Today is the third of May, 2018. Did you know that one of the most influential, revolutionary paintings in art history is titled The Third of May 1808?

Francisco Goya’s The Third of May 1808 commemorates a Spanish uprising against French occupation and depicts a moment when French soldiers gun down captured Spanish revolutionaries.

The painting is groundbreaking in its depiction of war. Art historian, Kenneth Clark, writes that The Third of May 1808 is “the first great picture which can be called ervolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention.

My assistant, Jessica, saw this piece in the Museo del Prado in Madrid years ago and told me about how she’d studied the painting in college and had not appreciated the power of the image until she saw it in person. Have you ever had that experience with a work of art? Has an artwork surprised you for better or for worse?

Do you have a favorite painting or sculpture? Why is it your favorite? What does the artwork conjure up in you?

I’ve been thinking about what useful resources art museums and images, in general, can be for writers as I prepare for my Art as a Pathway to Memory program coming up in September at the Orlando Museum of Art . In that program, we’ll mine art for memories and look at a wide variety of paintings and sculpture with an eye for story. Registration has not yet opened for that program, but keep your Saturdays in September free for this exciting series.

Once you’ve written about your thoughts and/or memories about your favorite work of art, consider heading to your local art museum to see what artwork speaks to you. Think about what the art reminds you of and what your favorite artwork might say about you. Write about what it would sound like, taste like, feel like, and look like if you were to enter the painting in front of you. Practice your descriptive writing in a beautiful and uplifting environment.

Whatever you write about art for this month’s writing prompt, please consider sharing it with us all in the comments section below.

1 Comment

  • Judi
    Posted May 8, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Through the years there have been hundreds of artists who painted heart-warming pictures of the old west, of cowboys in their leather chaps and vests with scarfs around their neck, of hats with a wide brims all the way around to keep the sun out of their eyes and off their necks, and their tall leather boots in the stirrups. They capture the muscles of the horses, their manes flying, as they race across the plains under that saddle where the cowboy is riding. These pictures bring out pride in me. I hear the Star Spangled Banner playing in my head and often tears roll down my cheeks. It’s almost as good as watching a cowboy at the Rodeo, where he and the horse become one to chase down a calf or a bull. It’s exciting, it’s our heritage, it’s what helped make America great!

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