My Heart of Glass
Project info

Reflections on Beauty and Fragility

Is Beauty a universal language?
Why do we respond to Beauty?
What exactly is beautiful? We always fall back on examples; the face of a beautiful girl, but also the lines in the face of a dear friend. But we can never explain why something is beautiful.
All the threads in my work refer to beauty, like the beauty depicted in those Still Lifes of the Dutch Golden Age, where the beauty of a flower was understood as fragile and evanescent.
There was the beautiful picture itself telling us about the fleeting of time, the fading of its colors and the memory of the flowers' prime that shines even when that prime has long been gone.
Somehow this past is always there. Beauty reveals a beauty of a past and of a future that we recognize as memory and hope.
Can we find beauty in just anything?
Do we rely on what we learned through the ages?
One of the most fascinating searches for beauty (and for that of memory and hope and understanding) for me, can be found in the self-portraits of Rembrandt, where every line dives in hidden secrets to be revealed, where chiaro oscuro are there to enlighten en to hide, to reveal a love of life, an aching heart and a pietà with our own fragility.
Tulips have become synonym with elegance from the time of the designs on Iznik pottery through the Still Lifes of Rachel Ruysch. Like roses they stand for vanity too; we all would want to keep their fleeting beauty. But the images that are made of them can be seen as eternal.
Their hearts are made of glass, so easily broken as ours in love, so strong they can last forever, with a soul that's made of light and shadows, like the glass plates on which I took these photographs.

Margrieta Jeltema