In the museum, I just read the names of paintings. Also being dyslexic made me a selective reader and I read only what I thought was interesting. Artist’s names I skipped because they were not present in the museum to impress me with their beings. These artists, who made this fantastic stuff and most probably were admirable geniuses in their times, their names did not say me much. I mean they were all dead, centuries ago, so their personality could not be met and hence did not interest me but their works seized me, having an indelible impact. Here, it must be said that from childhood, I had a serious lack of idol worship. Except that I wanted to lead a life of Gauguin or Pater Damiaan, I had no fascination for admiring idols. Even as a teenager, I did not have pictures of footballers, cyclists, movie stars or singers on the walls of my room.
On the very first visit to the museum, I got mesmerized by and I had no clue who made it, was, “Virgin and child surrounded by angels”. Between the so many others, this one caught my attention. Time and again, I stood in front of this work, trying to figure out what was going on in it. Intuitively, I knew that it had nothing to do with religion. Being brought up in a Roman Catholic home, Madonna and child I already had seen enough and my fascination with the painting had nothing to do with them. There was something else going on and I wanted to know what. I could not figure out if the red child like figures were angels, devils or simply child like figures with wings. This particular painting gave me the impression of ‘no way out’.
After regular weekly visits for 2 - 3 months, my focus narrowed down to one single painting, “Christ’s entry into Brussels”. Each time I was in the big Palace again, I stood there for at least an hour or two, in front of this painting. For me, this work was an ‘all saying masterpiece’. What I saw in front of me, was my world. I recognized everything in it, I was one of them. I could walk around in the painting, without losing my way.
Every time I left the museum, I promised myself to make one painting in my lifetime, that should have the same impact on a person, as this masterpiece had on me.