Conversation 8 – Of the Greatest Declaration of Love

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Death is represented as a man. With one hand, he presses the maiden’s head on his chest, while he rests his other hand on her shoulder. The painting suggests more melancholy than fear or anger. Egon Schiele freed himself from the traditional allegory of Death and the maiden to sketch the parting of a couple. Did he find inspiration in his own life? In 1911, Schiele met the seventeen-year-old Walburga (Wally) Neuzil, who lived with him in Vienna and served as a model for some of his most striking paintings. In 1915, Schiele chose to marry the more socially acceptable Edith, but had apparently expected to maintain a relationship with Wally. However, when he explained the situation to Wally, she left him immediately and never saw him again. This abandonment led him to paint Death and the Maiden

Would you die for a woman you love? If she left you and wouldn’t have anything to do with you? Or if she died – would you take your own life? Follow her as she jumped off a cliff maybe?

Yes. If I loved her truly. Without a doubt. 

You say it like you are proud of it.

I am. There is no greater declaration of love. 

So it is about making a statement to the world?

No. It is the greatest sign of true love. To refuse to live after the one you love has left. 

I think not. I would think that living on would be far more laborious. To carry on loving a memory. To realize that everyday visualizing that face is becoming increasingly and painfully difficult and yet spending every day attempting.

But dying is so much bigger. I give up the opportunity to live a long life – to perhaps love again – to move on. To find happiness again.  

It is the bigger spectacle of love perhaps. But certainly not the bigger gesture. To live a lifetime knowing what it could have been and what it is or rather what it isn’t…… To love and yearn. To live with a shadow of something that has been. Never ever being able to recreate the same magic with another.

So your idea is to live on and never get into another relationship? Pine like a sad hero from a soppy romantic movie? 

No. Not necessarily alone. But pine yes. Not in the alcohol infused way of the movies. But pine nonetheless.

Most people cannot  bear to be alone. Mostly the world may not allow them that luxury. Inevitably another relationship will be assembled. It requires a profound courage to forge another relationship on the corpse of an incredible love – knowing full well that the former will never be forgotten.

To mouth ‘I love you’ to another and know that it can never mean the same thing in exactly the same way and yet mouth it anyway almost as a punishment to oneself. A reprimand to one’s being because we couldn’t hold on to a love of a lifetime.

Yes… I think living after losing would be a greater love. A truer one. A braver one.

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