Illustration Museum:Impact of Discussion

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I visited Rochester Memorial art Museum and I truly enjoyed it.  I have never really visited a museum by myself but for this assignment I decided to go alone and it was very freeing.  I lived in Rochester for 4 years straight and never really explored all it has to offer.  The exhibit that struck me the most in the museum was a traveling exhibit, the war exhibit.  This particular photo was not in it the war exhibit I was unable to take photos of the exhibit because the museum did not own the photos but I do feel as though this photo relates and it also struck a cord with me.  The concept of war has always frightened and angered me but I still have the utmost respect for soldiers and anyone who is willing to lay down their life for a country they love.  I’m one of those people who gets chocked up watching YouTube videos of soldiers coming home to their families, or country song that have lyrics about soldiers.  I just can’t help it, when someone believes in something and loves something so much that they are willing to die for it my emotions come out in the form of tears.

The exhibit that really touched me was the war exhibit.  It was photos of civil war soldiers printed out on leafs.  The leafs were all from trees in America and the symbolism behind it is the leaves grew in America, lived in America, and then fell and died in America, just like the soldiers.  When I first was told about the exhibit I was a little confused, pictures of soldiers on leafs? But then I saw the leafs, they were large leafs the size of my head, and the photos were beautiful.  Some young soldiers, black soldiers, men who looked like fathers, and they all were born, lived, and fell in America just like these leafs.  What really sent shivers down my back was one section of the exhibit had mirrors with a transparent imprint of a leaf on them so when you looked in the mirror you saw your own face the same way the faces of the soldiers were on the leafs.  This almost brought a tear to my eye, thinking about how my family would feel if my face was on one of those leafs, if I had fought and died for my country and how they would be devastated but also extremely proud.

The photo I took above is by Norman Rockwell it is titled Solider on Leave. It was painted in 1944 on an oil canvas.  This was a beloved photo for its time because Rockwell captures a moment of optimism as this couple comforts each other knowing their time is brief together. It was published two month after the Allied forces landed in France on June 6th 1944, D-Day and it quickly became a symbol of joy in those hard times.  I really loved this photo because I saw it after the war exhibit and it reminded me that yes war is awful and many young people die, many fathers die, and it is always someone son or today daughter as well who is dying but they are doing it for something they really love.  Like the love you see between this solider on leave and his wife (?) it is beautiful and touching that they shard this moment together and it is a glimpse of pure love in a dark time.  I was very glad I saw this photo after the war exhibit because I do not believe it would have impacted me the same way if I had not seen it so freshly after feeling the emotions I felt from seeing the fallen soldiers on fallen leafs.

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