History Through Art
This year of reflection wouldn't be complete without noting the heavy influence that studying art history has had on who I am - if you read my first reflection you'd likely have noticed, hahah! Interestingly, or embarrassingly - as you may think - the reason I enrolled in my first Art History course was because I read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. Fortunately for me, the reason I continued to study it and earn a degree in it, was altogether different.
That reason was Dr. David Bershad.
From the moment he opened his mouth in my very first course with him I was hooked. You may find this hard to believe about Art History and I don't even know how many people I have told this to by now, but if I could, I would spend my days sitting in on his lectures, just listening to his stories of the Renaissance. In my time at the University of Calgary I took every course that he offered and never once was I let down.
Dr. Bershad knew every painting that he spoke of as if it was done by his own hand, easily recounting every detail while inserting his humour whenever he could - note his "red hot chili" rating for attractiveness on ratemyprof.com. When I studied in Italy and saw with my own eyes the paintings that were first introduced to me through his deep, knowing voice, I was almost let down. Not because the works weren't amazing - they were - but the passion, the smooth descriptions and confidence from a lifetime dedicated to art were lacking. Seeing art through Dr. Bershad's lense was without a doubt, for me, far more rewarding. Sort of like reading a book and then seeing the movie. I mean this with zero disprespect for the art and artists and in no way am I intending to sound unappreciative. He just, had a way about him. A way of pulling you into the art, making it into a living, breathing thing. An experience.
Today I was overcome with grief to learn of his passing. My emotions hit me hard and fast and to be truthful they were one hundred percent selfish. I will never again be able to sneak into one of his lectures. I will never again be able to sit back in the darkness while one illuminated slide and one smooth voice come together to breathe life into art. This world has truly lost one of its most precious humans.
Let's be honest, Dr. Bershad's soul is without a doubt in a better place. He's currently enjoying a fine Italian wine, his wife, Sonia, by his side while he laughs and shares inside jokes with the great masters. No doubt, he's already forged a friendship with da Vinci and even the less than amicable, Michelangelo.
And on the off chance that you somehow read this Dr. Bershad: thank you. Thank you for choosing to share your passion with all of us. No doubt you could've had your pick of employment in the art field. Thank you for choosing us. Thank you for treating us all like real people, for taking the time to remember our names and last names, and for calling us by them when you saw us.
And if you get the chance, see if you can find out where some of that looted art is, we'll be listening.