Thursday, June 15, 2006

I've fallen in love.

Krakow used to be a medieval, walled city. What used to be the moat around the outside of the wall was long ago filled in, and is now a narrow, lovely park that encircles the oldest part of the city, called the Planty. Most of the original wall is gone, but there is a small section that remains, along with just one of the old gates.

If you walk away from the main city square down Floriańska Street, you will reach Brama Floriańska, or Florian's Gate. On either side of the pointed archway, there stretches a short section of the original city wall. These ancient walls are used to showcase original paintings for sale. Every day, hundreds of colorful paintings of all sizes and subjects are hung up, and every evening they are taken down. I enjoy looking at them when I'm in the city, and even the recent contruction on both sides of the gate hasn't frightened the picture-sellers away.

I've often toyed with the idea of buying a painting, but nothing has ever struck a chord with me until a few weeks ago. I fell in love...with a painting. Not only is the subject matter deeping compelling to me, but the colors are perfect for my living room.

Surely you can guess which painting caught my eye, jumping out from the trite galloping horses, the ubiquitous city-scapes, and the inevitable abstracts?

I really want to own that painting, but I didn't even have the courage to ask the price. We asked the cost, long ago, of a little painting, and it was expensive. This is a nice medium-sized painting, not especially small. I've shown the painting to my kids when I had them with me in the city, and I pointed it out to my husband, who was brave enough to ask the price. Even if some bargaining were possible, it is still quite expensive, and I probably can't justify spending so much money on a piece of artwork.

But I do love this painting, and maybe, if it is not sold soon, I'll get up the courage to dicker with the seller and work out a price that I could manage by sacrificing elsewhere. You probably can't see it here, but the way the light is painted in the picture is just stunning. I was able to identify every painting on the wall done by the same artist, although every other picture featured ballet dancers. His light is distinctive. And it's a light I would like to be able to see, every single day, as I imagine a girl reading her favorite classic, or the Bible, or perhaps something personal, like her own diary.

I may never own this painting, but I think I will always love it just the same.


At 9:41 PM , Blogger Isabella said...

It's a lovely painting — sounds like you already own it in your heart.

Couldn't find an email address for you — drop me a line ( so I can set you up a member for reading War and Peace.

I spent a summer in Krakow about a dozen years ago. Oh, you're making me miss it.

At 4:05 AM , Blogger Mama Squirrel said...

Young Girl Reading?--that is the same one, right? Do you remember, several years ago, we did that painting for picture study? The Apprentice still remembers that one because I set her up on an armchair and made her hold the book just the same way. (She said it was extremely uncomfortable and she didn't know how the girl could hold the book like that and read it as well.)

At 11:00 PM , Blogger clarice said...

Hello Karen, i have just found your blog and am loving it. I just wanted to say hello and I am off to read you back posts.
Clairce Fox-Hughes

At 3:14 AM , Blogger clarice said...

Hello Karen you can get a poster of 'Young Girl Reading' by Artist: Jean-Honoré Fragonard at !!!


At 2:58 PM , Blogger Diane said...

Amazing! I was standing at this very spot one week ago today---and my dh pointed out this exact painting. We didn't buy it either, so it should still be there for you. We spent a wonderful week in Poland---and I fell in love. I would move there in a heartbeat. We rented a lovely house on a hill just outside of Myslenice (toward Zakopane), and it was so beautiful and peaceful.
You are very blessed to be there.


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