Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

On a busy Saturday in late October, my visit to the Delaware Art Museum had been sandwiched between oversleeping and afternoon plans. My boyfriend Ray and I perused the exhibit of art from the Pre-Raphaelite era for a couple of hours before grabbing a surprisingly tasty lunch at the café in the museum. Really good quesadillas—seriously good. We are planning on returning not only to see the rest of the museum, but for the food.

Every piece I examined carried such a weight of history on a single canvas that had been a very surreal experience. One artist stood out to me in the Pre-Raphaelite exhibit: Rosetti. His style is so unique: he paints people with such soft features. I wonder if everyone he met really did look so beautiful. I might be a little biased in saying that he stood out because I read all about his life in a textbook for my Victorian literature class. It was such a surreal experience to see pictures from my textbook come to life. His life had been so interesting; it was like reading a soap opera. Rosetti was the type of guy that would love and leave, which left his frequent model turned wife in a terrible mental state.

Strolling through each exhibit, I had experienced a weird, existential feeling while gazing at unfinished work. Certain pieces had been left unfinished. There was still so much left to do. Rosetti left a painting titled “Found” unfinished with unpainted bridges and trees just sketched in the background of the painting.

One of the other pieces that caught my eye had been “The Green Butterfly” by Albert Joseph Moore. I really like that it had been ironically titled after something that had been essentially in the background of the painting; the focus was a dark-haired woman in a red bonnet who takes up nearly the entire canvas. I had been drawn to it at first because its frame had been smaller than my map of the museum. I could not fathom the patience and tired eyes of Albert Joseph Moore, magnifying glass in hand and a microscopic paintbrush in the other to create the tiny details on the already tiny space he chose to paint on.

Walking hand in hand through the exhibit with a person I love gave me an added appreciation for the beauty of art and the connection people can feel to art. Walking through the exhibit alone wouldn’t have been the same. Each work sparked a conversation between Ray and I.

The Delaware Art Museum is one of those hidden treasures within an hour from West Chester University’s campus that often gets overlooked. Although I know next to nothing about creating art or art history in general, I found an appreciation for the culture that used to be and the creations that became a legacy. If you’re up for a fantastic day trip and you’ve always wanted to take a trip out of state to Delaware, take the twenty-minute drive.

Kirsten Magas is a third-year student majoring in English with minors in biology and creative writing.

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