When I visit art museums, I like to see if the art speaks to me.
Of course art is supposed to speak to us, in the more general sense.
But I want the people in the art to use real words. I tried to get a menopausal tip from this painting by Rembrandt. I hoped the hand poised near her abdomen was a sign she had something to say girl-wise, but alas, she did not speak.
Rictrudis, the lovely lady who resides in statue-form at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art, was French and lived in the seventh century. She married Adalbald, a knight. Together, they produced four children.
But into every life, rain must fall. Rictrudis’s parents weren’t happy with the marriage, so they murdered Adalbald. Yep. Talk about conflict with the in-laws.
But Rictrudis didn’t let such tragedy curtail her energetic spirit. Defying pressure to remarry, she started a convent at Marchiennes and became the first abbess.
I stood in front of her. Our trip to the Nasher was my first venture into the world after cancer surgery. I’d spent the last three weeks mostly on the couch. Tonight the museum felt so real, so colorful, so filled with treasure, so alive.
Speak to me, St. Rictrudis.
My French is tres mauvais, so if she had used words, I wouldn’t have caught them anyway.
But beyond words, the look on her face and Rictrudis’s story tells me this: When life gets tough, the tough keep going. I knew that.
But it’s helpful to be reminded by a wooden lady carved centuries ago.
To learn more about Rictrudis and the work done to restore her statue, check out the article from the Nasher Museum of Art.
And BTW, I did have a statue smile at me. Cliff said the other day, “I thought you made it up!” No! This truly happened, albeit the sun was bright.