How a painting helped Gianluigi Buffon deal with despair

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(CNN)One of the perks of being a news anchor is the surprising conversations you have got with charming people in precise instances.

One day you’re in Davos speaking weather exchange with former US Vice President Al Gore, the next you’re discussing the historic go-to of Pope Francis to the UAE with Emirati diplomats in Abu Dhabi, and the next you’re debating the merits of synthetic intelligence with Denmark’s new tech ambassador. It’s all part of the predictable unpredictability of the job.
But every so often, you locate yourself in a situation it really is clearly unforgettable.
Like standing in the Impressionist wing of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, as I became on a crisp iciness day this January, chatting approximately the delicate interplay of mild in Renoir’s “Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette,” without any other than the Italian soccer legend and contemporary Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon.

Plumbing
I find it superb because on this painting Renoir has depicted regular people, now not the ones belonging to excessive society,” explains Buffon without a touch of irony coming from a man who has executed the extremely good in a profession spanning a long time. The maximum-capped participant within the Italian national team’s records, more than one winner of the Italian Serie A with Juventus, 2006 FIFA World Cup champion and the list is going on.
“It’s the normal matters that bring good-sized happiness and happiness is all approximately enjoying the simple matters in lifestyles and here’s a painting of an everyday day, and one which I in no way took element in, but would really like to,” he continues as we make our manner through the crowd of onlookers, their smartphones in hand. It’s not each day you get to satisfy an actual-lifestyles maestro in a museum.

Enjoying the easy things in lifestyles and the artwork is a habitual theme with Buffon. He credits Chagall’s “The Promenade,” a painting he first came across in a gallery in Turin, for supporting him cope with a bout of depression and tension back inside the early 2000s.
Struggling with the prospect of fading younger exuberance and facing the onslaught of personal responsibility, Buffon took haven in Chagall’s dreamlike composition.

Buffon took a day trip from his busy time table to interview his love of impressionist artwork.
“It interested me because of its simplicity. It looks like a portrait an infant should have painted, and that is what struck me approximately it. It confirmed my perception that we might fly in personal planes or power fancy automobiles; however, at the quiet of the day, it’s the easy matters that supply happiness in lifestyles.”
It’s fascinating to see how a man who’s spent his entire grownup lifestyle under the burning spotlight of fame so eager to shun the trappings that come with it.

“When I’m a domestic and my wife’s at domestic in Paris, we move for a few lovely walks in our neighborhood. We walk over to the boulangerie to shop for bread; we pass grocery purchasing, you recognize normal things. I want to examine books, or we would watch a movie,” he tells me.
Sensing a glance of astonishment in my expression, he maintains: “I’m now not crazy approximately going to fashion shows or showy society activities. Sure, once in a while I cross, but I should confess, they may be no longer simply me.”

By the time we arrive at the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition, I have a far higher knowledge of Buffon, the person in the legend’s back.
He’s relentlessly pursued and attained football glory; yet, nevertheless, unearths authentic, haven in the gentle calm of antique masterpieces. His ardor for the beautiful recreation has driven him to become one of the finest goalies of our time, but he appreciates the actual-life moments off the pitch that brought him true happiness.
I honestly like it’s miles because it’s a scene from real lifestyles from a bygone generation,” he tells me as we approach our final to prevent “The Siesta” by using Van Gogh.

“It indicates individuals who, after an afternoon of tough paintings and sweat, deliver home a loaf of bread and provide themselves what they most revel in, an afternoon nap within the coloration of a haystack.”
“I examine this painting an image myself, or anyone after a hard day’s work, lying down at the sofa for a short nap. It helps me dream.”

Ever the gentleman, Buffon is more than happy to oblige the barrage of selfie requests. From the corner of my eye, I can see a pair of younger ladies standing inside the corner debating whether or not they ought to the technique as Buffon wraps up his evaluation of Gustav Courbet’s “The Painter’s Studio.” I signal to them to head over and that they shyly technique.
“Where are you from?” Buffon asks as he bends down to fit into the Instagram frame.
“Turin,” they respond in unison, virtually gaining in self-belief with the know-how they’ve met a real Italian hero.