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Work of the masters still appreciated

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

I don't know about anyone else, but prior to getting Internet I had no idea the world was so full of dancing dogs, singing dogs, dogs that ride on the back of elephants, dogs that are friends with monkeys and dogs that can ski. It would not surprise me one bit to receive film footage of a dog piloting an airplane or solving a complex calculus equation. Every day or two, I receive another startling dog performance.

My problem is that none of my dogs will do anything. The only certainty with any of my dogs is that if you bang a pot and pan together, they will come running. I don't know if they are too dumb to do tricks, too lazy to do tricks or maybe smart enough not to learn any tricks.

I have known one or two dogs that could do some pretty cool tricks, including one dog for whom you could lay a piece of steak on his nose and he would not move it until his master told him to shake and eat it. I've got a couple of friends that you couldn't train to wait and eat a piece of steak, so this trick somewhat impressed me.

The truth be known, however, I just haven't personally seen dogs do anything too amazing. I do have a picture of dogs playing poker, which was hung on my man's room wall and which I consider to be a masterful piece of artwork. I think it has disappeared again and is probably either in the attic or hidden behind the shoes in the closet.

I guess most people do not consider dogs playing poker fine art. The experts consider a Monet painting of a vase of flowers to be the ultimate in artistic expression. To me, that type art is relatively unnecessary. If I wish to see a vase of flowers, I can either go by the florist or visit a few people in the hospital room. It's not too difficult to find a vase with flowers. On the other hand, when is the last time you stumbled into a room and saw a bunch of dogs playing poker?

See? My point exactly.

At the rate the Internet is going, it may not be long before you can watch dogs play poker. And if so, I will not think the painting is all that wonderful or unique anymore. As a general rule, I don't see the purpose of painting something that you can go outside and readily see yourself. Thus, beautiful landscapes scenes and the like are OK, but one can use the naked eye to go and see the same.

But I must give credit to the old masters of art for developing at least one type of painting which is recognized by the art world as classic and at the same time meets my definition of something you can't see every day. I mean, of course, the famous nudes that have been painted for centuries.

That's certainly something you can't see every day. Or, at least, you can't see every day and stayed married.

What amazes me about these paintings is the fact that the master artists were able to convince the general population that these expressions are art and not naked women painted to arouse disgusting, lewd men, which is basically the entire male population -- excluding Boy George, Richard Simmons and Jeff Gordon.

As a kid, if I got caught thumbing through a Playboy, I'd be kicked out of school or in deep trouble. But I could go to an art museum at 8 years old and look at all the nude Reubens I wanted. Unfortunately, there were no art museums where I lived, so I spent a lot of time with a flashlight in the closet.

I really don't know what these guys were able to tell to get away with such. I mean, how do you tell your wife that you plan to have an 18-year-old woman come by the house, strip naked and then spend hours as you paint her in a secluded private room? Such a suggestion, in today's world, is spelled d-i-v-o-r-c-e. These guys were probably the forefathers of the folks who negotiated to buy Manhattan from the Indians for $10. Whatever, I'm glad they were able to convince everyone their art was classic.

I think I'll tell my wife I'm planning on buying a few of those nude paintings. I have a feeling she'll probably put back up the dog's playing poker instead.

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.