La Charité (1887)
La Charité (1887).
By Paul Meyerheim.
On Christmas Eve this piece of art grabbed me for what seemed like no other reason but to effect a moments rest on a passing Christmas shopper. However, after almost two weeks of emotional impatience, I revisited the store to see if I could determine what kind of a ghost concealed itself within the shadows of Paul Meyerheim’s art.
At once I was surprised to feel a separate force of emotion, which I resolved to stay with until it revealed itself entirely. The scene utterly provoked within, all that impassioned me as a youth. It challenged me by way of melancholy to recognize how that once youthful idealism had somehow gotten lost on oppressors like those personified in Meyerheim’s painting.
Surprisingly, the surge of emotion brought a third wave of feeling in the form of a call to action ashore. Frederick Neichze might say of the scene that compassion and sympathy are clever ways in which we show our contempt for those we perceive beneath us. In what seems an almost unreal situation, we find ourselves pursued into 2017 by politicized hatred, racism, misogamy and the menace of wholesale environmental devastation. Perhaps it’s our youthful idealism reborn that will save us!