Letter to ARC

Home / Education / ARChives / Foundational Discussions

Letter to ARC

From Raymond K. Paden

Published before 2005


Hello ARC:

Please, how does one pronounce "Bouguereau"? [ Bouguereau may be pronounced "Boo-ga-roe". - Ed ]

For the ignorant masses (of which I am one) you might consider including a guide to pronunciation in the artists' biographies. It would be very helpful to me and, I'm sure, many others.

Some years ago, I was touring the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh with my wife and another couple. I saw a painting that stopped me dead in my tracks. The title was Young Girl Defending Herself Against Cupid. I was dumbfounded! I had always loved art, and had some small talent as a child that my parents tried to encourage. Sadly, all they could think to do was send me to some absolutely worthless classes at the Atlanta High Museum of Art that featured ... well, you can guess. I quickly grew disgusted and quit. I was absolutely ignorant, but even then (and now) I knew art when I saw it and what they were trying to teach simply wasn't. What I saw before me there in Raleigh was something like what I knew I had wanted to create ... but would never be able to.

But back to the painting ...

It was riveting! In some incredible way, it was more real than a photograph could ever be. The subtle hint of expression in her eyes seemed to say, "no ... but maybe!" I could have stood there for hours (and I could go on now for hours) but my wife was starting to get jealous of that beautiful, naked young lady. We left, but some part of me stayed behind there in that museum. For months and years I remembered that painting. I had no idea of the artist's name, but I searched through the North Carolina Museum's website trying to find some clue. I never found anything.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was poking around [a website] and saw a mutated painting (it was Alma Parens, with animals instead of humans) that (believe it or not) reminded me in some way of my lost painting. I followed a link to the original, and found myself at www.artrenewal.org. In a few minutes I had found her, read the biography of M. Bouguereau, and gratefully wandered through the pages of your wonderful website.

I've been wanting to share that with you. I've bookmarked the ARC, and included a link on my own website [..] where I intend to retell this story. When I can, I will join you in this fight. Ignorant though I am, I can tell the difference between art and trash.

Moreover, I see this, not just as a battle for art, but as a fight for Western Civilization.

Raymond K. Paden