Who among us does not wear a mask?
This is a spiritual self-portrait by the great Georges Rouault (1871-1958).
It may be my favorite among his great etchings in the Miserere, his window into the passion of Christ.
Rouault wrote sometime earlier, “One day I noticed how, when a beautiful day turns to evening, the first star shines out in the the sky. It moved me deeply — I don’t know why — and it marked the beginnings of poetry in my life. A gypsy caravan halted at the side of the road, a weary old horse nibbling stunted grasses, an old clown patching his costume — that was how it began. We all wear a spangled dress of some sort, but if someone catches us with the spangles off, as I caught that old clown, oh! the infinite pity of it! . . I have made the mistake . . . of never allowing people to keep their spangles on.” (from Frank and Dorothy Getlein, George Rouault’s Miserere. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1964, p. 43.)