With loss, I’ve become more interested in love.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was the first art gallery I visited after Elisif died seven and a half years ago. I wandered the halls, taking in works from Medieval and Renaissance Europe, drawn not to their religiosity but their humanism: so many images of parent and child, Mary and Jesus, each foretelling or expressing the child’s death.
So much love; so much pain. I cried.
It took me to this long before I was ready to make art about that experience.
In spring 2021, I found myself searching the internet for works titled “Lamentation.” I found one by Sandro Botticelli, Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints. Painted some time between 1490 and 1495, it’s gorgeous, particularly the detailed area with one of the grieving holding Christ’s head. All cradling hand, bent head, and fluid textile folds, to me it’s a picture less of grief than of love.
Gentle singing. A lyric.
I made a drawing based on that passage.
I subsequently made five more drawings from other versions of The Lamentation, Andrea Mantegna and Fra Angelico infusing my studio with their expressive lines of loss and love.
Love above all.
Grief is a long journey, and that’s okay, for in its ongoing bend it takes on such welcome colors, as surprising and lovely as the dancing harmonies of a Botticelli.
I welcome that: I say hello. Hello, love.