Far Away Thoughts

7:00 AM

John William Godward, Far Away Thoughts, 1892
By ETHAN DOSKEY

I would like to dedicate this portrait to my mother.

After a week of being away, I was overjoyed to see her on my birthday. To celebrate, we made a trip to the New Orleans Museum of Art, just the two of us. As we walked through the sculpture garden that summer afternoon, I thought about what bliss I was experiencing - free of stress, drama, and any worries in my life. I could not help but acknowledge the peace that her and I felt.

Then it started to rain. And it was and utter downpour. The violent sound of the rain on the marble and windows soothed us even further and the cool breeze traveled through the galleries from the open doors. We then took our time meandering through every room: still-life, seventeenth century portraiture, impressionism, post-impressionism. Then we reached neoclassicism and pre-raphaelite, genres my mother and I have quite an affinity for. At home, our decor consists almost entirely of prints from John Collier, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and J.W. Waterhouse, so seeing this room was quite a treat.

Upon first glance, I was immediately drawn to this painting. I loved the simplicity and beauty that this painting embodied. The composition and humble dimensions were so pleasing to the eye that I was dumb-struck. The cool colors offset by the porcelain white skin and red hair fits so well together and gives off so many complementary vibes. The woman's gaze also intrigued me. I thought to myself how amazing it is that this artist could translate such thought into a practically emotionless figure onto a two-dimensional canvas. Then I looked at the title: "Far Away Thoughts." How fitting.

I rushed to find my mom across the room and had to drag her by the arm to see this because I knew she would love it. We sat for two minutes without saying anything- just appreciating this painting in every sense that we knew how. "You know, she reminds me a lot of you," I said, breaking the silence.

For the first time, I felt like I discovered a perfect painting. One that conveyed so much with so little, was a piece from our favorite movement, contained our favorite colors, and even had a figure with red hair... just like us.

Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses. 

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