Commonplace Book- National Portrait Gallery

On Wednesdays, my week takes a small break. I finish class by 1:45 pm and have the rest of the day. Most of the time I go back to my dorm to do homework, go to the gym or go out to eat. This week I decided to go take advantage of what DC had to offer. I went towards the national mall and walked for a few hours. After a while, I decided to go to the national portrait gallery. Here, I walked around until I made it to a third flow gallery that seemed very interesting. At the end of the hallway, there was a statue that seemed incredibly ominous. It had felt as if I had stumbled upon a secret floor that was hidden from the public. A floor that only I had the privilege to see, and at the end of it, a statue waiting for me. I approached the statue and felt a genuine sense of fear. The mix of both the statue, the entrance, the painting behind it, and the fact that the floor was virtually empty filled me with a sense of deep fear. It was the first time that I felt scared to be around something that was created to be so beautiful. I took a step back to read the description of a statue. The statue is of the wife of Henry Adams, “Clover” Adams, who committed suicide in 1885 by drinking chemicals. Henry Adams thus commissioned this memorial to be made to encapsulate ideas of being beyond joy and sorrow. The statue truly evokes a feeling of despair or something beyond human understanding. I knew instantly that this statue had to represent a tragic past life. Sure enough, the suicide confirmed this suspicion. The closer I got to the statue the more glaring the eyes became. It seemed as if I was truly looking into the eyes of someone who had suffered so much. At one point I felt as if it was merely a matter of time before the statue awoke from its eternal slumber in order to whisper something to me. Needless to say, the rhetoric of both the statue and the location within the museum gave this piece a true sense of fear and despair.



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