Revisiting Artworks through the Lens of CI

By Carmen Lia

When admiring paintings and sculptures, we might  start by recognizing the artist, the place where he lived and worked, the historical time, the subject of the artwork, the image or the story represented and the style the artist utilizes. We might go on to analyze the composition, the figures and forms, the rendering of space and perspective, symbols, colors and chiaroscuro, the texture, be it fine or rough. We could also do some comparison with other artworks by the same or different  artists, etc., as this is an  academic way to understand and appreciate a work of Art. 

Of course it’s true that, by observing a beautiful painting or a sculpture, we can simply enjoy it, even if we don’t know anything about it. In either case,an inner experience  occurs, though we  may remain partly unaware of what that artwork is telling us. Sensations, thoughts and emotions are triggered, which in CI we have learned to acknowledge and welcome with a gentle  embrace, not just with our mind, but with our Heart as well. It is from here that compassion is born and can be allowed to grow. 

How did this CI Focus Group come about? 

Art has been both my profession and my life passion. I worked as a teacher of Art History in High Schools until I retired in 2010. After retiring, I started sharing the beauty and knowledge of art with elderly groups, at first live, and then online. When the CI Training ended last September, I confess that I felt some loss, but then art appeared to me as a possible basis for deepening the understanding of ourselves. By hinting at some CI questions, in a very simple inquiry, using some artistic themes and images capable of stirring sensations, emotions, and thoughts within us, we make space for whatever might come up, as a gift of self-understanding, self-Compassion and freedom. The first artistic theme I chose was “Hope / Hope as Despair”, then followed by the theme of “Waiting”, which could either be the title or the meaning of the artworks. Each theme included important masterpieces from all places, styles, and artists, in historical order. The third one was “Mother and Child in Art through the centuries”, which is not only beautiful but also emotionally charged for most of us. This  theme is so vast and rich that, for my Italian groups, I had to divide it into two different weekly meetings, which I am now repeating for others to join.

What I can say is that the CI Focus Group, REVISITING ARTWORKS THROUGH THE LENS OF CI has given me the chance to experiment with different ways of deepening my  appreciation of art, which then becomes not only something external to observe and appreciate, but also a reflective mirror of what’s calling for our loving attention and gentle acceptance. The participants’ responses have been warm and that is rewarding enough for me, since I am aware that these art presentations are simple opportunities  for human connections, where each individual feels worthy of being seen and listened to. Most importantly, I feel it is where we learn to syntonise ourselves, listening with loving care to what’s going on within our own being.

Listening, in CI,
is not just related to our ears.
In fact, in CI we listen through our Hearts,
open, respectful, compassionate, 
as in a spiritual embrace. 
Listening in CI,
is not just an action of our mind,
(too prone to judge or give advice,
tempted to boost one’s ego and fill the space). 
Not that. In CI, it’s the Heart that leads
and holds a safe and sacred space,
where Healing miracles can take place 
in Human Lives, Others’ as well as Ours. 

   – Carmen Lia

Scroll to Top