We’ve all had such a moment in a Roman museum or gallery. You amble blithely down the aisle taking in a painting here or there until suddenly — inexplicably — you are frozen in your tracks. “Stendhalized” by the overwhelming beauty of an image conjured by a genius.
A gifted poet and memoirist, Hampl describes how even in a consumer-driven world of mass tourism, one can still be shocked into spiritual awareness by such an event. For her this small epiphany came when confronted with the Matisse painting “Woman Before an Aquarium,” at the Chicago Art Institute.
From here, the author takes us on a personal pilgrimage in search of a “secular saint,” and writes compellingly about how such a journey served to reconfirm her faith in God and of a benevolent (sublime) universe.