If we can’t visit a museum in person, we can take a virtual tour regardless of where we are in the world.
For the duration of lockdown, I’ll be moving The Museum Chronicles series in the digital space, writing stories from afar and encouraging you to immerse yourself in virtual tours.
First stop: The Louvre
I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed to find only four small sections of the colossal Louvre Museum available to tour online.
However, I’m grateful that one of them is currently hosting the exhibition “The Advent of the Artist“.
During my virtual exploration of the Richelieu wing in the Louvre’s Petite Galerie, I discovered powerful portraits and self-portraits from the 18th and early 19th centuries.
These are the flash fiction stories they inspired me to write.
Marie-Guillemine Benoist, Portrait of Madeleine (previously known as Portrait d’une négresse), 1800
Her name is Vulnerability.
She empowers through bravery, through honesty and authenticity. Her story is not spoken, but conveyed. When she breathes, her soul sheds the ghosts of yesterday, layer by layer, gaze by gaze.
Today, she chooses to exhale fortitude, to exude wisdom, and compassion, and integrity. Tomorrow, her legacy will make a generation stand tall, without fear, with the courage of a thousand faceless warriors.
Her name is Vulnerability, and she embodies strength of character.
Luis Egidio Meléndez, Self-portrait Holding an Academic Study, 1746
His name is Diligence.
He takes pride in excellence and defies the impossible. Failure has taught him that there are two sides to every story. His own glints with rigor on one hand and vigor on the other, leaving no room for doubt or disdain.
With Mastery as his father Discipline as his mother, he treads with fierce assurance in the face of challenge. He grits his teeth, sharpens his observance, and slices through discomfort with precision and persistence.
His name is Diligence, and he advances against all odds.
Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Self-portrait with Her Daughter, Julie, 1786
Her name is Devotion.
She has sacrificed everything for the sake of another, and continues to do so without any trace of remorse. Her heart beats to sustain vitality that is not her own. Her eyes caress and her fingers heal.
A guardian of angels, she neglects her needs in exchange for nourishing. Her beauty stems from within and cascades over the lives she touches. She radiates with grace, and loyalty, and unbreakable altruism.
Her name is Devotion, and her life’s purpose is to give.
The Museum Chronicles is a series of flash fiction pieces written on the spot in front of paintings in museums.