As my husband and I traveled this summer through the Adriatic, I was secretly on the lookout for examples of custom art, and found that it was always in its place, ready to entice, attract, and warm hearts wherever I looked.
From the gondolas traveling under the bridges and down the canals of Venice, to the white buildings with blue doors and windows on Mykonos, local artisan painters were found sitting with their easels and palettes along the waters’ edge, while photographers changed lenses and worked to capture the beauty of the moment with an artistic replica of the gorgeous views.
Even classical art adorned the places where ancient ruins had stood strong for more than 2000 years. As we approached our luxury hotel in Athens on the last leg of our trip, I was again reminded of the greatness of artistry. We had seen up and down the coast that the ancients had decorated every wall and column with characteristic and meaningful designs, and that every human form became a “portrait” created with respectful accuracy in the ancient world. The ancients knew both the science and the beauty of their work, and seemed to have had a wonderful reverence for personal creativity and embellishment. Details clearly mattered.
As we entered the lovely Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, the rooms seemed to glow with elegance. Gold scrolls illuminated the edges of the furniture in the lobby, and well-lit museum quality art pieces decorated the walls of the reception areas and ballrooms. In our exquisite suite, a thick hotel magazine lay on the ornate desk, inspiring even more grandeur. The decor of the room, the shiny brass hardware, even the magazine trimmed in gold on the table exuded a feeling of splendor and luxury, while the hotel staff emanated the utmost care as they fulfilled their duties. This was truly a place for artistic inspiration!
The cover portrait of the magazine attracted my attention, of course — a striking image of a barista with colored bottles on the counter behind the bar, and an immense Michelangelo-like painting suspended on the wall above
The lighting in the shot was perfectly set to emphasize the wall art and ambiance of the splendid hotel. Even the GB shiny gold logo on the cover of the magazine above the portrait, mounted on a glossy, white background, spoke to me in its simplicity and sophistication.
Yet, there was still more “art” to be discovered. During our golden hour dinner on the rooftop, the ruins of the Acropolis were perfectly lit by the setting sun, as if it the vision had been arranged by the hotel attendants in advance and just for us. What a romantic scene was illustrated against the blue sky right before our eyes while we sampled the most delicious Greek specialties. (Unfortunately I only had my camera phone to capture the scene!)
As we left the historic city of Athens less than 24 hours after arriving, I tucked the GB Magazine into my bag thinking that I would have something to flip through on the flight, but even more so hoping to hold onto a little bit of the golden luxe of my this luxury experience. As I packed up those pages of artistic inspiration to take back home to South Carolina, I came to the realization that I hadn’t really been searching for art at all on this trip… only for new inspiration.
Artistic beauty can certainly be found on an artist’s canvas, but it is also right there before us all the time in “the trimmings” of every home — the decor of every room, the landscape of every property, and the pages of every album on the shelves, all depicting the personality of the individuals who reside there. Just as I have told my clients, the trip confirmed that art is the design element that compliments and completes every room, solidifying the “experience,” making the moment feel relevant, comfortable, complete, emotive, and certainly memorable.