Musee d'Orsay


I’ve been thinking about this portrait of Camille Claudel for a long time, especially since seeing her sculpture, L'Age Mûr, in person at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris with B, D, and J this spring. I can barely stop thinking about her, her expression, her eyes and mouth, the idea of this expression of hers being at the very front of a life-long obsession. I feel both haunted and dared by this photo, known and unknown by it. In order to exorcise some beast of my own, and to indulge in my own staring at something I think is so beautiful I can never actually see it, I’m drawing my own portraits of her. It is a doomed practice of true empathy. Every drawing can look nothing like her. Nothing can look anything like her. So every attempt will be a failure. These are my first four failures. This is what writing poems feels like to me.