Fifty years ago, I sat at the feet of Bouguereau’s lamb, cross-legged on the cool floor of the Berkshire Museum, as footsteps echoed around me. I could feel that lamb in my arms, and I could feel the ewe, so earnest and trusting, next to me. Once grown, I brought home my first newborn lamb. I was now a shepherdess, just as I had experienced in that painting, and as a fiber artist, my artistry this lifetime has since been expressed under the aura of this painting.
As each of our children turned 5, I brought them to stand at the feet of the Bouguereau. They embraced the vision that inspired our family’s chosen lifestyle. When our fifth child was ready, it was gone. “In storage,” the museum said. That son, now 17, still awaits his turn. And four grandchildren later, it is gone forever.
My life was shaped by the privilege of growing up with access to such art. I weep at the loss to our community and can’t imagine what insanity would part with such world treasures when we have them in our grasp.