Friday, May 9, 2014

Meeting Simon Schama

Last night I had an opportunity to sit and talk with Simon Schama. He currently teaches at Columbia University in New York City. He is a prolific writer and brilliant historian. 
He just released his new book this year titled “The Story of the Jews” that was also made into a film series by PBS.

I was able to meet with Simon just before his lecture at the Des Moines Art Center. We talked about the artist Caravaggio as well as my son Caravaggio. We also discussed his series that he created called the “Power of Art” for PBS and his book “Rembrandt’s Eyes”. I strongly recommend reading these books and watching his PBS series.

What I came away with was inspiration beyond words. Simon is passionate, loud, ambitious and above all humble. He was so gracious, kind, warm, and intense. His knowledge of art history is unmatched. He has taught at Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford and after talking with him I know why. 

I discussed my art and teaching with him and gave him a copy of my art book “I Before E except After Death” which made him smile. Schama understands art that doesn’t always fit the mold and for that I appreciate him even more.

His lecture later in the evening was about his latest book called “The Story of the Jews” and as Simon says, “It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds.” 

Schama is a genius and will always be an inspiration to my work and me.


(I would also like to thank Eric Salmon who took the photo)

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