Finding The Story Inside The Painting (TED Talks)

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  1. How often do you go to art galleries? Have you ever suffered from a gallery fatigue?
  2. Do you thinl we need stories to relate to paintings? Were you impressed by Tracy’s stories?
  3. To what extent do you agree with the following opinion?
    For anyone who has studied art or art history, this talk probably strikes as particularly naive — and somewhat dangerously so. Only in the context that Ms Chevalier is the author of the popular novel, «Girl with a Pearl Earring» do her transgressions have merit. Concocting imaginary stories to explain actual paintings is useful to her in her artistic process. Fair enough. 
    However, insofar as the audience may have deemed hers a legitimate method to appreciate art, she does great disservice. She dumbs it down to a non-visual event going on inside her own mind — a way, as she puts it, to keep herself from falling  asleep as she trudges obligatorily, wearily, burdened by all the art that she can’t fathom. Artistic value should not be measured by the story you invent to jazz up a painting to rescue your own attention from oblivion. It is a totally inappropriate substitute for understanding, and insults the integrity of the work, the artist, and your own intelligence.
  4. Can you think of any paintings that made you stop in your tracks?
  5. What kinds of paintings do you have (or would like to have) at home? Could you share any of your stories about paintings?



an affliction — pain and suffering or something that causes it

to suffer from an affliction

a fatigue — a feeling of being extremely tired, usually because of hard work or exercise

to suffer from a gallery fatigue

selective — tending to be careful about what or who you choose

How come, then, it’s not so expected to be selective when we go to an art gallery.

an approach — a way of dealing with somebody/something; a way of doing or thinking about something such as a problem or a task

Well I’m trying to take a different approach.

to pinpoint — to say exactly what or where something is

… and I look at everything, and I pinpoint  the ones that make me slow down for some reason or other.


to curate — to select, organize and look after the objects or works of art in a museum or art gallery, etc

So it’s the first thing I do is, I do my own curation.

to stop in one’s tracks —  stop what they are doing because they are so surprised

There are three paintings I’m going to show you now that are paintings that made me stop in my tracksand want to tell stories about them.

conflicted — confused about what to do or choose because you have strong but opposing feelings

the conflicted look on her face

to compartmentalize — to divide something into separate sections, especially so that one thing does not affect the other

… he compartmentalizes his life.

sumptuous — very expensive and looking very impressive

Now, all of the women, or most of the women in Vermeer’s other paintings wore velvet, silk, fur, very sumptuous materials.

a leap of faith — the act or an instance of believing or trusting in something intangible or incapable of being proved.

It’s not such a leap of faith to take that that pearl earring actually belongs to his wife.

seductive — attractive in a way that makes you want to have or do something

He was still looking at his cards, and that’s one of the seductive elements of this painting is, he’s so focused on what he’s doing that he doesn’t look at us.

wistful — thinking sadly about something that you would like to have, especially something in the past that you can no longer have

This painting made me stop in my tracks for three reasons: One is the disconnection between his mouth that’s smiling and his eyes that are wistful.

doublet — a short, tightly fitting jacket worn by men from the 14th to the 17th century


The third thing that made me stop in my tracks is his absolutely gorgeous doublet

snug —  warm, comfortable and protected, especially from the cold

And you know what it makes me think of, is it’s sort of snug and puffy; it’s like a duvet spread over a bed.

intricate — having a lot of different parts and small details that fit together

It has a plain high collar, detachable sleeves and intricate buttons of twisted silk thread, set close together so that the fit is snug.

nuptials — a person’s marriage and marriage celebrations:

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials, James.