“What I love belongs to me. Not the chairs and tables in my house, but the masterpieces of the world. It is only a question of loving them enough.”
–Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco
I don’t know who Bibesco is, really, but apparently she knows me. That quote sums up exactly how I feel about a few lovely things that are, to put it mildly, a bit out of my price-range. It’s a life philosophy that’s kept me from going crazy…or landing in jail.
For instance, I love the Tiffany fountain at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC so much I’d probably go nuts—except that, decades ago, I decided it’s actually mine. The Met just houses it for me because I don’t have enough space to do it justice.
The same is true for John Everett Millais’ painting Ophelia.
Don’t ask me why I adore this painting so much. It doesn’t reflect any madness or suicidal tendencies on my part. Honest.
But I know it seems a little morbid. My poor mother-in-law learned it was my favorite painting shortly after His Highness and I got married. I’ll never forget her face as she frowned down at the glazed stare of drowning girl.
“Your favorite? Really?” Somehow she kept her voice as gentle as ever. “But… But why?”
That’s all she said out loud. Behind her eyes, though, her brain was pinging with questions. Like… “Oh, dear heaven…he’s married a nut job?” and “Too late for an annulment?”
And after a lifetime of looking at Ophelia only in books, as sad as a hungry kid in front of a candy-store window, I finally got to see it in real life.
A few years ago, we went to London for one of His Highness’s work conferences. While he attended meetings, I took a zillion tube rides and walked my feet raw to get to the Tate, where Ophelia hangs. I made a beeline for that room, plopped myself down on the bench in front of it, and drank its beauty in until they forced me to leave, nearly two hours later.
They probably suspected I was casing the joint, planning to come back at midnight, dressed like Catwoman. If only they’d known… I’m a chicken, not a cat, and would never risk exposing my jiggly bits in that outfit. Luckily, Bibesco’s wisdom has made my life of crime unnecessary.
Of course, many other beauties could be on the “MINE” list. Hundreds of them, probably…Chihuly glass and Faberge eggs and Tom Hiddleston and Mozart piano concertos and the Book of Kells.
photo credit: gdcgraphics via photopin cc
But that would be greedy. So I settle for “owning” those two masterpieces only. The rest just go on Pinterest.
How about you? Are there any treasures you love so much they feel like your own? Or are you one of those lucky, non-materialistic people who can be content without them?