The closest I get to a true religious experience is when I’m in the presence of art.
Recently while at the De Young Museum in San Francisco for the Girl with the Pearl Earring Exhibit my daughter smiled and asked “are you going to have a religious experience today?”
My answer was “yes I am.” And I did.
I can explain the wonder and awe and feeling of being so complete and one with the universe when I’m in the presence of art. It is time travel for the soul. It is the essence of being. It was something that transports. It is like a high that no drug can match. It is magic.
There is something romantic about most art as well, or at least the art I’m attracted to, be if figural, landscape, modern or ancient.
One of my favorite artists is François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard (March 12, 1770 – January 11, 1837)
This isn’t going to be an essay on art history or a biography today because I have little time and an even smaller attention span. I’m just going to chat about imagery, romance and life.
Of course many teenage girls and other romantics know Francois Gerard for his painting of Cupid and Psyche.
Cupid fell in love with a girl named Psyche. Miss Psyche never had much luck at love because she as so beautiful that men were intimidated by her. I believe she was just over protected and socially awkward, but whatever the case…She was a beautiful princess (or maybe not but they always have be princesses in stories), almost as pretty as Cupid, and it was love at first sight.
Venus, who was Cupid’s mom was pissed. How dare her son fall in love with someone who was as beautiful as Cupid. What a bitch. I would never get pissed off if my son married someone who was prettier than I am (or not as pretty as I am.) The whole body image thing is nothing new folks – or general cattiness among some members of the female population. Anyway…
Cupid and Psyche have an affair that is even secret to her until she accidentally burns him with candle wax and he gets pissed but then he gets over it (realizing he’d been a jerk). It is always something in relationships. So to make a long and silly story short, helped by Zephyr (the West Wind), Cupid eventually says “screw it” to his parents and marries Psyche. Nobody expected it to last but it did, for several thousand years. And they DID live happily ever after (and still do). The end.
For more on romantic notions with Greek Gods (and better written) read this story (Click here.)
So eventually we got the lovely and sweet painting Cupid and Psyche by Mr. Gerard.
He is famous for his beautiful portraits of women such as Empress Josephine and Madam Recamier.
My mother, who looks a bit like Madam Recamier, said she’d regretted the fact that Francois Gerard had not painted her portrait when she had the chance.
Of all of his painting, or any paintings by any artist, my favorite is a self-portrait he made with his daughter. I can’t even describe how sweet it is. He is so handsome and the little girl is precious. And one has to wonder, is he so handsome BECAUSE he is with a child with obvious love and care? We all know that men who are good dads are always attractive!
Which brings me to my own husband.
When I pass him he always puts a hand on my waist or back. He takes my hand when we walk or sit anywhere. We don’t even have to talk, but we do talk. We talk a lot – all the time. We never run out of things to talk about. We’ve been together for a long time and have our banter down to an art. It delights most and some find it extremely annoying, but it is what we do. And a lot of that conversation/banter is about art.
I mean, how cool is it to be married to a man who likes to sit around in the evenings and talk about art? It is very cool.
So aside from Cupid and Psyche I do love the portraits of Mr. Gerard. The subjects seem so relaxed and at ease with themselves. They are beautiful and comfortable.
My brother Val asked my mom about that. Actually, he asked her about the clothing.
“Hey mom, wasn’t it hard to go from wearing hardly anything to jump into the Industrial age with industrial strength corsets and thirty thousand layers of clothing.”
“Not really.” That was her answer. She didn’t feel it necessary to explain as she has always been a fashion leader among Vampires (and regular humans.)
Val has always had his list of women in paintings he’d love to have passionate affairs with. He is truly in love with art and the fantasy of “what if.” In the meantime, he is never seems to judge women by their looks. He sees beauty in all of them, or so he tells me. And yes, I do believe him.
Val always says “love isn’t a physical thing. It is a meeting of souls. Be it friendship or romantic lovers, it is something we can write about and dream about, but we can never truly explain or define it.”
I believe the same goes for art as well. For like all good Vampires I believe in love and art and the magic of being what you are and who you are – true to your own heart, soul and passions.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman