"He longed for the deep as she longed for the night sky and for white lilies floating on water—although she still tried to convince herself that love alone could feed her soul."
"In order to eat, you have to be hungry. In order to learn, you have to be ignorant. Ignorance is a condition of learning. Pain is a condition of health. Passion is a condition of thought. Death is a condition of life."
These, for me, are the two most depressing paintings in western history. They were painted by post-impressionist Henry de Toulouse-Lautrec, a man who, due to inbreeding, was born with a genetic disorder that prevented his legs from growing after they were broken. After being so thoroughly mocked for is appearance, he became an alcoholic, which is what eventually caused his institutionalization and death. His only known romantic relations were with prostitutes.
And then he paints something like this which is so beautiful and tender and sentimental. It seems like the couple in bed really loves each other—cares about each other. Wakes up happy to look at each other. And I see that love and passion and I wonder how lonely he must have been. I wonder how he could paint something like this without it breaking his heart.
Maybe they say artists should create what they know, not because its unbelievable when they extend themselves beyond their experiences, but because when they pull it off with such elegance, it’s so damn unbearable to look at. I hate thinking of Lautrec, wondering about the lovers he created and knowing it was beyond his experience. Creating something that he knows is beautiful and knows he’ll never really understand.
Nini Theilade as Venus in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo’s Bacchanale, choreographed by Leonide Massine, with scenery and costumes by Salvador Dalí, circa 1939.
"Quelquefois les vieillards me regardaient avec envie, ils me disaient que j’étais heureux d’être jeune, que c’était là le bel âge, leurs yeux caves admiraient mon front blanc, ils se rappelaient leurs amours et me les contaient ; mais je me suis souvent demandé si, dans leur temps, la vie était plus belle, et comme je ne voyais rien en moi que l’on pût envier, j’étais jaloux de leurs regrets, parce qu’ils cachaient des bonheurs que je n’avais pas eus."
"Attracted to each other, a man and a woman connect through lust. The communication joining them depends on the nakedness of their laceration. Their love signifies that neither can see the being of the other but only a wound and a need to be ruined. No greater desire exists than a wounded person’s need for another wound."
"We have in fact only two certainties in this world—that we are not everything and that we will die. To be conscious of not being everything, as one is of being mortal, is nothing. But if we are without a narcotic, an unbreathable void reveals itself. I wanted to be everything, so that falling…