Does Art Make You Cry?

In my case, it’s a resounding yes. Truth be told I cry in almost every animated movie, so it’s not exactly hard to move me. But I have felt like a bit of a weirdo when I’m crying at a gallery.

Art in person can be an entirely overwhelming experience. It’s cliche but seeing art in person is entirely different than reading it in a textbook. For example, I didn’t appreciate van Gogh until seeing his work in person. (I know.)

These are the two paintings and one building that made me cry.

Execution of Lady Jane Grey, Paul Delaroche, 1834
Execution of Lady Jane Grey, Paul Delaroche, 1834

When I was 19 I finally got to go to England (then moved there later) and maybe that has something to do with this piece. I was overwhelmed by the art in the excellent National Gallery. And being to a country I was fascinated by for my entire life was incredible.

However, the size of the Execution of Lady Jane Grey completely overwhelmed me. I think the most moving details are how the man is almost fatherlike in leading her to her block. And she can’t see. Her little white hands are grasping out at nothing.

It’s like a stand-in for all the undeserved deaths throughout history.

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia, too, moved me to tears. Can you not be moved by this monumental structure? (Apparently, you can because so many people in there looked more bored to tears.) The light dancing on the organic forms stunned me.

Guernica, Pablo Picasso, 1937

This is the biggie for me. I sobbed and sobbed. This is ridiculous but I had to leave the room as I made a bit of a ruckus! The pain of war comes through the paint. All the haunting confusion, death, and tattered corpses. You can almost hear the mothers cries of anguish and the horses wail.

I used to be embarrassed by these occurrences, but I embrace them now.

Do you have any pieces that have made you well up?


1 thought on “Does Art Make You Cry?”

  1. I can see the emotion in these, so I understand it from your point of view but for myself the subject matter of paintings rarely makes me cry. Instead, it’s the painting styles of some that do. (For instance, some of the paintings by William Holman Hunt, which I adore. And some pastel paintings of people in sunlight, though I couldn’t name specific artists for this – I’ve seen classical ones and modern ones that have the same effect.)

    I am the daughter of a sculptor and painter and am an artist myself, so if I’d been moved like this all the time, I’d have lived my life in floods of tears. :)

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