I am reading a book called "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough which is about Americans who went to Paris and when the impact they had when they returned to America. It starts in the late 1820-30's where I still am, and goes through the early part of the 20th century. Here is an excerpt I read last night that I thought relevant.
"The glories of the art of the arts on all sides, in and out of doors, the conviction of the French that the arts were indispensable to the enjoyment and meaning of life, affected the Americans more than anything else about Paris, and led many to conclude their own country had a long way to go. Something had awakened within them. Most would never again look upon life in the same way, as they themselves said repeatedly in so many words."
Too true! The arts are indispensable to civilization. He was referencing visiting the Americans visiting the Louvre, attending the opera Paris had 2 opera houses in the 1830's, one did exclusively Italian) and the sculptures/gardens that dot Paris to this day. These men and women were born in American (the USA was roughly 50 years old).