May 13, 2011

In Florence

by Sandro Boticelli

I have visited the works of art at length in Florence. For hours at a time I have sat before a particular painting and shaped my opinion of it, and then later compared it to Burckhardt's fine judgments. And look: my opinion was like that of so many others.

Once, studying Botticelli's Magnificat, I forgot any judgment of my own or of others. That is when it happened: I recognized a battle and was awarded a victory. And my joy was like no other.

Early Journals


  1. Yes, I think we can all recognise that sudden, rare, ecstatic moment when a work of art 'speaks' to us, simply and directly, almost mystically, unmediated for once by any personal prejudice or critical opinion. Instead of thinking 'What should I be feeling and understanding here?', we just intuitively seem to feel and understand.

  2. ruth it's a thrill unlike most others although music can sometimes break through the filters of my knowledge and experience and speak directly to the real. steven

  3. Like the Walker and Steven, I have experienced those arresting moments with art and music when the work seems to skip any processing and sieze the soul. I did not experience it as a battle. Did that ring true for anyone?

    1. Dear Dolly, it has been a pleasure to receive your comments these last weeks in response to Rilke's writings. We are delighted that you continue to be inspired, as we are, by Rilke and his deep insights. I want you to know that these writings were posted in the year 2011, and the commenters posted their comments that year. I'm afraid there is not a "live" conversation here now, and this is why you may not receive a response to yours. I do hope you will keep reading, both the Rilke excerpts and poems, and the commentary, which are incredibly rich, and very much "alive."

      Best regards, Ruth

    2. Thanks, I wondered why people were responding for dates that have not arrived. Reading the responses has been a help for me.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!