Friday, November 13, 2009


I'm reading about Botticelli in the evenings. The book was a birthday gift from my mom in answer a request for "an art book about a specific artist". I hope the nature of that wish list item acquits me of any charges of art snobbery. I know nothing -- really nothing -- about art, but two summers ago I visited the Louvre.

That single day didn't change me. My heart beat normally; I experienced no difficulty breathing. The soreness of my feet from standing all day and doing the slow "museum walk" stands out strongly in my memory, but so does the Winged Victory. I strolled up and down the long halls of the Louvre with no pretensions -- a tourist with my purse strap looped securely across my chest and a point-and-shoot camera in my pocket. Surprising, even to myself, I wanted to linger before a favorite painting, sketchpad or journal in hand, or at very least, to know something of the style or significance of what I saw. That desire persists. My mom gave me an art book for my birthday and now I'm reading about Botticelli in the evenings.

This painting is called Fortitude.  It was, so my book tells me, painted to hang behind the judges' chairs in the Florentine Tribunal -- one of seven Virtues.  I still can't comment on technique or significance, but I think she's beautiful -- strong and maybe a little bit sad. 

Someday, when I travel to Florence, I'll wonder the halls of the Uffizi.  I'll pause, camera in hand, and say, "That's Botticelli's Fortitude.  Isn't she beautiful?"

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