Thursday, January 2, 2014

Enraptured by Reading

Reading, the action or skill belonging to interpreting and giving meaning to the written word, whether silently or aloud, is an activity that can result in rapture.

Lesendes Mädchen (1850)
Franz Eybl (1806 - 1880)
Österreichische Galerie, Vienna

In order to explore whether the movements we deem as accepting, such as the engagement required in bringing in information, something both men and women do, resulting in a type of gender dysphoria or "better understanding" , are related to the movements we self-recognize as feelings of intense pleasure, feelings that transport those who partake in this sensory experience to a state of utter euphoria, associated historically with believers being transported to heaven at the Second Coming of Christ, i.e., the Rapture, we must first consider both.

Claude Monet Reading (1872)
Oscar-Claude Monet (1840 - 1926) 

Reading is an engagement of bringing in information and is characteristic of graceful and elegant bearing in a person. Reading denotes composure and dignity of manner, an individual who is balanced in their coparticipation in life as well as in their ruminations on many subjects... for reading grabs ahold, with an iron fist, of one's inner most being where one is transported outside of one's own circumstances, delivered somewhere between where the author intends to take them and where the Reader is capable of going.

Corina Chirila

Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology that refers to the sensation known as "being caught up" (Thessalonians 4:17, when the "dead in Christ" and "we who are alive and remain" will be "caught up in the clouds" to meet "the Lord in the air."

"Prairie Dog Rapture" (Praising Prairie Dogs) 

In Daniel 7:13, "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence."

Daniel in the Lions' Den (c.1613-15)
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

In Acts 1:9, "After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight."

Lonesome Boat on the Yangtze River
Teng Shu-Ming's solo exhibition, "Mist & Cloud"

It is behind this metaphorical cloud, behind the veil, under which the passively perceived outward act of Reading can transport its Readers to a state of rapture.

The gyrations one must undergo to get there are theirs alone, but somewhere therealong, the tantalizing fragrance of parchment takes over,

The Love Letter (c.1770s)
Jean Honoré Fragonard

and in that very moment, the Reader is transported from the passive act of Reading to the active response of feeling enraptured.

The Rapture of Psyche (Le Ravissement de Psyche) (1895)
William Bougereau (1825-1905)

This is one of Bougereau's more romantic pieces. With Psyche finally in the arms of her love, Cupid, the two ascend to heaven. The myth of Cupid and Psyche dates all the way back to Apuleius in the 2nd century AD.

In the myth, Psyche is a beautiful princess of whom the goddess Venus is jealous. In her rage she orders her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with a monster, but Cupid falls in love with her himself.

After several trials Cupid and Psyche make their plea to the gods who turn Psyche into an immortal and allow them to be married in heaven (British Library).

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