The girl in the blue dress
On a trip to Vienna as a young man. I walked into its huge art museum, the Kunsthistorisches, not having a clue. I knew next to nothing about art.
When I walked into one of the galleries, I was met by a series of paintings of a girl. A girl in huge, widely-spread dresses. The dresses looked like they must have taken years to make. And probably a day to get into. But they were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen, these dresses. The face of the girl who wore them wanted to talk to me. Who was this painter?
The painter was Diego Velázquez. The subject was Margarita Teresa, daughter of Philip IV of Spain. She lived, I learned later, in the 17th century. I didn’t care about that then. I just knew deep within me that this painting and probably many others would, by its truth and its power, hold me, delight me and teach me. That made me delirious.