An Artist's Letter to his Beloved

My fair lady,

I know, being the woman you are, you envy all that I desire apart from you. And you suspect, being the man I am, I covet these women in my paintings. It is a peculiar poetic madness, the desire to be the only desiree of the one you desire. I cannot blame you, light of my eyes, for wishing to secure all of my affections. It is flattering. Possessiveness of this universal extent, however, is doomed for disappointment. For not even the jealous God could rid men's hearts of their idols, and had to resort to the cheap tactics of heaven and hell. You may be a mortal my love, but you have in your possession the means to my happiness and suffering.

I am tempted to defend myself on the grounds that these unchaste depictions are mere artistic endeavours, noble works of art devoid of anything base, but I know better as an artist. The boundaries of aesthetic appreciation and desire are always blurred. It tastes crude in my mouth to pronounce like a biologist that the sense of beauty is an evolutionary derivative of sexual attraction. It may be so, I do not know. Mother nature is full of surprises and who knows suckling at her breasts has left us with what complexes in the dark corners of our minds. Stendhal declared beauty to be a promise of pleasure. Even if that be so, for me, it is a promise unfulfilled. I wish I could rid the perturbations of your soul, but I can only hope to assuage them with my confession of love, human though it is in its extent.

Be not jealous of these women I draw. They are paper and paint, figments of an over-arching imagination, or perceptions tainted with fantasy. You are flesh and blood, my reality.

Thine ever.

Comments

Anonymous said…
A Friend's Letter to an Artist

My dear artist,
Perhaps it would have been more reassuring if you had told your Beloved the curves you draw as if obsessed and lips you paint as if mesmerized are in essence not separate from her. If the spirit of the Creator exists in each of His creations, even the worship of idols is the worship of God. Beauty certainly exists more assuredly than God, and in the frozen sparkle of the eyes you can't keep from drawing, perhaps you see a memory of the one who has your heart in thrall.
For future reference, my dear artist, this is good advice. Be it out of jealousy or vanity, love does not easily permit sharing--whether with flesh and blood, paper and paint, or even thought and dream.
Thine amused well-wisher ever.