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Artists, YouTube and learning languages.

Updated: Mar 11, 2023


Picture of a dark street in Amsterdam


I imagine like most people I get caught in the rabbit hole of YouTube way to easy. I usually limit myself to music. If I'm working I'll listen to an audio book maybe on my commute and I have a list of artists I enjoy watching.


But the other day I was having a random conversation about megalodon which Lead me to YouTube.


Now I had been listening to an Italian music playlist right before that and my algorithms has art on it and it lead me to an awesome documentary on Caravaggio.



It was in Italian (because YouTube gets confused by my playlists lol) and I figured it would be good to watch to help with my learning Italian.


I watched it the whole way through and was really surprised how much I could understand and also how much I couldn't understand. So had to watch it a second time with captions.


I really enjoyed it because it was talking about Caravaggio's techniques and process. Re: topic of a previous blog.


Caravaggio was one of those artists I knew about. I've seen dozens of pictures of his work but he was never anyone who stood out to me.


Until I seen his work in person.


I had flown to Amsterdam specifically to see Rembrandt's night watchman.

(people always ask me how I decide where I'm going when I travel. That's one of the ways. Then they usually look at me like I'm crazy)


The trip on a whole started out as a disaster with my credit card being froze for suspicious activity a few hrs. before I boarded the plane and finding out my visa debit (where i had all my travel money saved) was also frozen upon landing. This left me with only $200 and the trip would spiral to spectacular disaster from there. It was still an amazing trip in the end but I digress.


Luckily I had pre purchased my tickets for the museum and I woke up early so I was at the museum when it opened in hopes of avoid the crowds. I traverse the maze to get to that section. I paused just outside the hall and took a deep breath. I had waited since I was a child to see this painting. The excitement was running like electricity through my body.



I turned the corner and came face to face with the largest x-ray looking machine I have ever seen. Which covered all of the painting but a 2x2 square on the bottom left corner.


I burst out laughing.

It was one of those situations that you either laugh or you cry.


Mid laugh/ looking like a crazy lady I hear a gentleman's voice asking me if I was ok.


After explaining what had happens he offered to give me a tour of other pieces in the museum that were worthy of such a journey across the ocean and offered to buy me lunch.

This would be the first of many kind offers from wonderful people on this trip.



During lunch he had mentioned that there would be a Caravaggio exhibit in the spring if should happen to find myself that way again. He talked of the pieces as if they were delicate jewel that one must see in person to appreciate the luster of their shine.


Fast forward to spring of 2020 I had to met a friend in Amsterdam before we continued onto Budapest. Given the opportunity again I made it a point to go see "Night watchman" and it was worth the wait. Upon heading back into the main hall I noticed the poster for the Caravaggio/ Bernini Exhibit and remembering the vigor with witch my lunch companion had talked about it, I headed to find the hall.



Upon turning the corner I came face to face with Bernini's sculpture of medusa staring squarely at Caravaggio's "Narcissus" The detail and realism was uncanny. I felt as if i was looking out a window on this scene.


The further i went into the exhibit the more i felt unsettled by a few pieces the level of gore depicted in "Judith beheading Holofernes" was so wonderfully executed. Pun intended.


One felt as if you could reach out and fell the wetness of the blood on your fingers if you dared.



"Boy bitten by lizard" the way he depicted the look of shock and bewilderment on the boys face was such an unguarded feeling like looking in on someone when you know you shouldn't. The grotesque angle of the hand gives it a quality of putting you off without knowing at first why you are put off.


At the end of the exhibit I sent my lunch companion a message and he joined us for dinner to revel in conversation of what he so kindly introduced me to.



In conclusion i learned never take things you see in picture for face value and if you are willing to be open sometimes great things will happen. Even if at the time things seem dire there's usually a perspective that can take you into place you might not have normally gone.


Jackie ♥️




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Art is one of the best things a human being can do!

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I agree ♥️

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