“Madonna Pazzi” by Donatello, 1420-1430s.
Marble, 75 x 70 cm. — Bode-Museum, Berlin.
A hard medium to portray a most tender moment.
The intensity is such that they seem unaware of our presence.
The genius of Donatello.
Inspiration: No matter how absurd the world seems, there will always be beauty and there will always be love.
“Dust motes dancing in sunbeam” by Vilhelm Hammershøi (Denmark, 1864-1916), 1900.
Hammershøi — the painter who painted silence.
How does one paint silence?
Will stillness do?
How do you perceive it through art?
A representation without a story?
A rush of memories and thoughts?
Or rather their quieting?
Art via the National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen.
All night rain.
I remain awake.
The drops come from so far away,
and land so close to me.
I saw a tree with a million mirrors
standing at the edge of a precipice
roots firm amongst the rocks
branches up in supplication
leaves scattering in teardrops.
Inspiration: one week of near total silence.
Come to my garden.
The one where the roses open in the silence of the night.
The one where my secret sorrows gently wash away the dust from the path,
so that your feet may step onto it.
The garden where tears also water the roses
– the ones that open in the silence of the night.
You will feel your sorrows leave you,
just like the dust on the path.
near the roses that open in the silence of the night.
I am one of those who, everyday, watches the sun rise and set.
It is for me a way to remain aware that we are part of nature, of a cycle of day and night, and of a movement vaster and faster than we can ever imagine.
Watching the sun rising and setting does not require a view upon the sea or even a large window, a small patch of sky suffices.
Days are filled with activities and noise, so I like the simplicity of seeing the slow lightning up of the sky announcing the start of a new day in total silence. And I like taking a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of a late afternoon to witness the sun setting, even if it is a simple reflection on a glass pane.
Every dawn and every dusk are distinct in sights, with different colors and sometimes birds flying across the sky; and in sounds, with silence or the echos of thunder. Each rising and setting of the sun has its own atmosphere, and I am grateful for being a witness to it all.
These are simple pleasures really, reminding us that beyond the fracas of the world, there is serenity and there is beauty.
Inspiration: changing skies.
She stood with a fan in her hand, her gaze reaching far beyond the fence.
She filled the museum room with grace and poise – a silent contrast to the visitors, all smart phone at hand rushing by, their short attention span turning stillness into boredom.
I was absorbed by her grace. I never asked myself any questions about what she may have been thinking. There was no need.
I stood there, wishing for her serenity to touch me. And as the visitors withered away, it did. I hope it touches you as well.
“Lady with a fan” by Fei Danxu (China, 1801-1850), ink on paper, hanging scroll, Qing Dynasty – a photo I took at the Shanghai Museum in June 2018.
Inspiration: Chinese New Year and serenity.