“The Anguish and Tragedy He Had to Overcome to Manage to Capture That Light…”

“If people knew what Matisse, supposedly the painter of happiness, had gone through, the anguish and tragedy he had to overcome to manage to capture that light which has never left him, if people knew all that, they would also realize that this happiness, this light, this dispassionate wisdom which seems to be mine, are sometimes well-deserved, given the severity of my trials. ”

–Henri Matisse, interview, Matisse on Art

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  • True happiness can only be recognized when contrasted against the trials of adversity.

  • peninith1

    Those who survive tragic or horrible circumstances or loss or illness and retain a capacity for joy seem to have a special quality. But this ability to come through as if refined by fire is not available to everyone. Some people are crushed and burned out. I always feel that it is inspiring to hear the person concerned speak of their own joy and witness it radiating from them.
    But I don’t think that it’s ever a good message to give to a person suffering that this experience is going to make them ‘better.’ It is hurtful at such a time.

    • CJ118

      I agree with you peninith1. “Just be positive” is the most dangerous thing you can tell someone when they really crave acknowledgement of their current sufferings. So does telling them “This will only make you stronger”.