(Meditation, Adolphe William Bouguereau, 1901, Cincinnati Museum of Art)
We lock eyes - she and I.
In truth, this dark haired beauty is glancing just over my left shoulder.
I quickly decide that's a good thing.
She won't be paying attention to me as I stare at her in wonder.
Wispy tendrils spring in wild abandon from those long brunette locks.
A tumble of hair travels across her left shoulder and ends in the middle of her modest chest.
My eyes fall on the fingers of her left hand - entwined as they are in those delicate curls.
Then I glance at her right hand and I am hopelessly entranced.
The life-looking modeling of her flesh is exquisite.
Her pink tinged fingers seem to be kissed with just the perfect drop of coral.
I study the barely there blues of her veins.
A mix of ivory hues on the backs of her hands makes those fingers and veins appear transparent.
Surely, this beauty has been brought to life by the hands of a master.
There can be no other explanation.
I love light.
I crave light.
And I come alive whenever I see soft blues and glistening whites parading into that light.
She wears a gauzy white gown.
It shimmers softly in the mountain breeze.
Our beauty has rosebud lips.
A heart shaped face.
And a Grecian nose - classic to the core.
But it is those deep brown eyes that melt us.
She stands in the midst of divine nature.
A goddess of ethereal delights - come to visit us from afar.
There was a time - not long ago - when Beauty's loveliness would have been hidden from our view.
She might have been relegated to the back room of an art museum.
Or perhaps a long forgotten closet in a patron's home.
Her creator, William Adolphe Bouguereau, eventually fell out of artistic favor.
With his peers.
And then with the masses.
"Too sentimental," they said.
Too old school.
It was time for something new.
And so the French Impressionists made their debut.
Beauty took her bow and left the stage.
Hard to believe, isn't it?
But like any good, garden-variety goddess, Beauty would not be ignored.
Years later, after the Impressionists had had their due, she and her master were rediscovered.
And for all of the reasons she had been created in the first place.
Human beings can be fickle to the bone.
there are times when we simply refuse to see the light.