In the Church of San Paolino, I found an altarpiece which was to drive me mad. The subject of the painting was a common one, I had discovered, usually called The Lamentation, being the scene of those weeping over the body of the dead Christ only just taken down from the Cross.
It was a miracle of Botticelli’s sensuality, most specifically in the tender representation of Christ himself who had the gorgeous body of a Greek god, and in the utter abandon of the woman who had pressed her face against that of his, for though Christ lay with his head hanging downward, she knelt upright and her eyes were therefore very near to Christ’s mouth.
Ah, to see these two faces seamlessly pressed to each other, and to see the delicacy of every face and form surrounding them, it was more than I could endure.
How would I ever rival, even in my dreams, such a work as this?
How exquisite here to die of happiness after being so long miserable and alone. How exquisite to see this triumph of form and color after having studied with bitter sacrifice so many forms I could not understand.
There is no despair in me anymore. There is only joy, continuous restless joy.
From Anne Rice’s Blood and Gold