I found this painting while on my normal thrift store haunt a couple weeks ago. It’s an authentic oil painting that is obviously quite old–possibly even from the 1800’s. Who knows. I paid a small amount of money for him and brought him home delighted by the novelty of a good thrifting find. I had visions of Antiques Roadshow and being one of those people who find out their thrift store art find is worth vastly more than they paid. I told the story to friends and reveled in the novelty of my find.
And then something I wasn’t really expecting to have happen happened. The beauty of the painting unfurled. His face bears a wisdom I want to understand. His slightly pained expression, his amblyopia (lazy eye), his plain hat and shaggy beard all speak of a life that was difficult. But his face lacks resignation. There’s no bitterness or lingering sorrow. All that there is is the beautiful presence of a person long dead but who once lived and breathed just like me on this earth once upon a time. And in his lifetime he met an artist who decided to bequeath his beauty to the future.
I am incredibly grateful to that artist for making his decision. I’m also grateful to person who decided to cast it off and send it away. And for my own moment of serendipity in the thrift store. I now have a small beacon of beauty in my home.