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Matthew Holden Bates Official Blog

October 19, 2019

Firenze, Italia


When Art Travels in Time

Blog Post

Number 1


The Official Blog of Matthew Holden Bates

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If you are new here, welcome to my world of original oil paintings. If you would like to get acquainted with my paintings, there are some links above to my Online galleries. If you know my artwork, well then, welcome back! Let's get started :)

The story I am about to tell is a strange one. It has no explanation, nor should it. Let's just say that I have noticed through the many years that I have been painting that all is not as it seems. When I paint, I think to myself that I am in control of the project, and that there are no external factors involved in my process. Then, maybe many years later, I see something in the painting that makes no sense, something that should not be there, and yet there it is. This is the story of one of the craziest coincidences I have ever experienced as an artist.

It all started when my sister Jessica Bates, who is an actress, had the good fortune to be able to write, produce and star in her one woman showcase at the Gloucester Stage named "Waiting Room". So I got on a plane from Firenze, Italia and went to Massachusetts to see the show. My parents live close to Gloucester in Manchester by the Sea, and they decided that since I was coming, that we should put on an art exhibition of the work that is currently there, a retrospective show of all of my life from my very first drawings in high-school to my recent work. I thought it was a good idea, I usually just show my recent paintings, this would be different for me as well.


Here is a photo of the reception, we had a great turn out!


During the run of the show a patron made a comment about one of the paintings to my father, Stephen Bates, who is an accomplished painter and musician, that there was a hill town floating in the sky of one of my paintings. The painting is an unusual one, from 1994, a painting that I made just using my airbrush, something that I never do anymore. Here is the painting in question:



Acrylic on poster-board / ©1994, Matthew Holden Bates


In case you missed it, I know that I did :) here is a close up of the hill town:

"Clouds" (Detail) ©1994, Matthew Holden Bates

Now when you go back to the original painting, It is hard not to see it. Here is where it gets strange, I knew that I had seen a hill town just like this one before, so I went through my vacation photos with a clear idea of where to go. I am very fortunate to live in Italy which really is a beautiful place. Since I live so far away from my family we try to spend vacations together at least once a year. Many times those vacations are in Italia, and one of my all time favorite vacations was on the island of Sardegna. We rented a house near the beach in a little town named La Ciaccia on the northwestern coast of the island. Here is a picture of the beach:

Beautiful "La Ciaccia" in northern Sardegna

Off in the distance on the coastline there is a hill town called Castelsardo. here is a close up seen from La Ciaccia:


Maybe you can see it by now, but just for reference, here is a comparison between the painting and the photo:

Let's keep in mind that we went to Sardegna in 2016, 22 years after I finished my painting.

Here is an overlay of the two images:

It is not a perfect match, but the two towers on the right and left meet up exactly.


So what does this mean? Are we subconsciously aware of our future, do we leave Easter eggs in our lives to show us the way? Or is art literally a portal to a higher dimension where time and space are not linear. I don't know, I don't think I will ever get a great answer about this phenomenon, but it is what it is.


So what do you think? Have you have had a similar experience, let me know! Maybe we can get to the bottom of this.

A Presto!

Matthew Holden Bates

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