“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
One of my favourite paintings and one of my favourite quotes. I have coupled them together because for me they are one and the same.
As a child I was dragged through countless museums. Hours and hours of trudging silently through enormous room after room, staring at painting after painting. Taking everything in, yet… too much sometimes becomes nothing at all.
This painting hangs in the National Gallery in London. When I first saw it… a painting had never come so alive before my gaze. I immediately felt a connection with the subject, with the emotion, with the scene, with everything… I was her, she was me. When I heard her story, the tale behind the image… I didn’t need to be told what it was, I already knew.
This painting, every time I see it, always stirs up within me what it stirred then… there is a connection… there will always be a connection… a message… a meaning… a hand of feeling stretched across time reaching out from human to human about the experience of being human and all it entails.
When I first read these words by Rilke… the same connection I had with the painting happened with the words. They were not just words but so much more. A voice echoing across years speaking from one human and entering the ears of another who for a moment was listening and was moved by what they understood.