How to heal your broken heart in a museum
Updated: Nov 28, 2021
Arts & humanities as a self-help tool Vol. I
In these blog series I share my personal experiences to practically show you how arts & humanities are a therapeutic tool always available to us.
By Eleni Denephelis
My dear seekers of truth and beauty,
There’s no detaching culture from our existence because the definition is all-encompassing, a total attitude of people's life. Have you visited some of the museums around you aimlessly, and perhaps went when you felt like no one could console you and felt lonely or misunderstood? The solemn power of extraordinary art tends to evoke the sorrowing and accepting to make recollections and see through life. It holds a tremendous sense of allure intensified by curiosity. The latter carries a ramifying capacity to offer a solution to the besetting problems the world has presented and, especially, at an emotional level.
The solemn power of extraordinary art tends to evoke sorrow but also allows us to have a sudden burst of recollection and see through life.
A few years ago, while I was purposelessly walking around Paris, I had a profoundly moving experience at the Louvre museum. I often visited Louvre four times a week as I was a young student, and therefore I could enter for free. So, I’d wander inside this big palace a few hours per week, sometimes simply wondering, some others to read a book in a corner. But that day wasn’t like any other. It was the time I first felt genuinely heartbroken and defeated. A brief but passionate affair had abruptly and bitterly ended, leaving me in an ocean of tears.
That day, I wasn’t inspired by the Nice of Samothrace's fierce beauty or by the exuberating eroticism of Michelangelo’s David like I usually was. I was incredibly vulnerable, and I longed for intimacy like no one ever did before. I could barely stop myself from sobbing in public and particularly in the Parisian Metro -where I always felt more lonely than when alone; everyone seemed so gloomy there.
I sat at the pavement behind it to stare at it, and I shivered in my loneliness. Gradually, I was taken by the beauty of being rescued by a kiss on display.
It was then that I first saw with utter amazement Antonio Canova’s Psyche revived by Cupid’s kiss. I sat at the pavement behind it to stare at it, and I shivered in my loneliness. Gradually, I was taken by the beauty of being rescued by a kiss on display. After a while, I felt that my whole body was drawn to it by some mystical power. Eventually, I gave it my entire being while pouring my soul out to it. I had no idea what was happening; it was truthfully a sacred, transcendent moment comparable to a religious one.
After a while, I loudly burst into tears and poured the agonies of my romantic life at this statue in full display. I cried and mourned, reconciling my sorrows with those depicted in full sublimity in that work of art. Psyche had gone through so many hardships before Eros revived her with his kiss. For how long should I suffer myself before Eros finds me? I thought, consoling myself with the idea that Cupid’s kiss will also rescue me.
I cried and mourned, reconciling my sorrows with those depicted in full sublimity in that work of art.
I paid many visits afterward, always famished for the very same solace I found that particular day. I sat there staring at the artwork, and I cried, and I cried, and I cried… Until I had no more tears to shed. All my bitterness was poured into it, purging my grieving emotions. I was relieved as if I spoke with a friend who knows me better than myself. I’d finally found some emotional support.
In high arts, I found an explanation of my situation; that means the statue offered to grasp my innermost desire for understanding and acceptance.
Sorrows and joys are the two but different sides of a coin called life, and no one is fool proof from any of them. The most important thing is our reconciliation with this reality. Though immersed in my life's sorrows, realizing that others in the ages past bore a similar or more uncharitable severe presentations of life helped me express or share my feelings with them. Art had given me an avenue to pour my heart out to the cultural expression that bore a comprehensible resemblance to mine. In high arts, I found an explanation of my situation; that means the statue offered to grasp my innermost desire for understanding and acceptance.
And like it has been said, culture is as diverse as it comes. Depending on passion or interests, fine arts are only a small part of the art-world. Other forms have the inherent capacity to reach our insides and offer to hear us and reconcile us with life. They find us and stay as loyal and dependable companions, offering relief or healing when the situation seems unbearable and strange. Here, music first comes to mind. Music could be a way of finding solace or understanding within oneself. Let's talk about music in the next post.
May Eros and wisdom be with you,
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