For years, I’ve been reading a book to 7-Year Old Daughter about Edgar Degas and his dancer sculpture. In the book, the model is a poor girl who can’t afford ballet lessons and never learns to dance, but in the end she is immortalized by Degas. I’m pretty sure it’s fiction and doesn’t have anything to do with Degas or the girl who actually posed for him, but I could be wrong.
I told daughter that one of the dancer sculptures was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, complete with the ribbon in her hair and dancing skirt and that one day I would take her into the city to visit it. Finally, I decided to take a day off of work, leave Mrs. Wife and 3-Year Old Daughter in New Jersey and fulfill a promise.
I’ve been in that Museum dozens of times over the years and know my way around pretty well, so I took the most direct path to 19th Century European Painting and Sculpture. Little legs exhaust easily and I didn’t want her running out of gas too soon.
I turned the corner where I *thought* the statue was but she wasn’t there. Then, from behind me, I heard Daughter gasp and say, “Dad! Look! There she is!”
And there she was.
Daughter’s face was glowing. It’s as though she spotted a celebrity. Here, in front of her, was the girl we had been reading about for years and years.
We spent quite a bit of time in the Degas rooms. The funny thing about Degas is that he didn’t paint dancers performing. He painted them stretching or in class or getting dressed or talking amongst themselves. But not dancing. It was scandalous at the time.
After Degas, we looked in on some of the other Impressionists. That stuff is pretty easy to take and I don’t want her to work too hard yet. Baby steps. First, van Gogh’s Irises. Later on, Picasso’s blue period.
I could see that tedium was setting in so we started towards the exit. But before we left that wing, she turned to me, looked up and said, “Dad, can we go look at her one more time?”
Everything is going according to plan. Muuhahahaha!