Affinity in the African Gallery

One of two twin figures, Ibeji
by the Master of the Owu Shango Shrine. Yoruba, Nigeria.
Wood, beads; 28.5cm (11.3″)
Denver Art Museum

Karyn says: “At the ARLIS conference in 2008, we attended a party at the Denver Art Museum, and I started crying in the African Gallery in front of the exhibit case you can see right in the center of this photo:

Inside the case is a Yoruba sculpture of a deceased twin (an Ibeji) and I felt so sad thinking both of the lost twin and of the remaining one, whose soul the Ibeji is supposed to appease, that I started crying. I think what really got to me was imagining that now, with the Ibeji halfway around the world on another continent in Denver, it might be even harder for the twins to find each other. (Glasses of party wine might also have been involved.) My colleagues were very kind about it, if puzzled!”

Weeping at the Whitney

Alice Neel, After the Death of the Child, 1927/28 , Private collection

Melissa says, “I cried like I was being punched. I gasped for air and covered my face upon reading her title: ‘After the Death of the Child'”.

Paralyzed by “The Parents”

Käthe Kollwitz, The Parents (Die Eltern) from War (Krieg), 1921–22, published 1923, The Museum of Modern Art

Miki says: “I saw this I believe at a temporary exhibit at the Museum of Biblical Art.
All of the woodblock prints that are a part of this series are incredibly moving, but this one held me captive and paralyzed, with silent tears, for minutes on end. I have never forgotten the feeling of being so struck by this image, and never will.”

Bewitched by a bodegón scene

Diego Velasquez, An Old Woman Cooking Eggs, 1618. National Gallery of Scotland

Larissa says: “I surprised myself. I am a museum educator and have also taught dozens of college level art history courses covering all periods of art history. I had admired this image by Velasquez in books and in slides. But standing in front the actual painting — seeing its sheer size and the quality and complexity of its composition for the very first time in person — was such an intense experience. I was caught up in its humanity and its history—this work of a young artist from Seville chronicling the life of the market (a bodegón scene) — it overwhelmed me and brought me to tears, something I am not sure has ever happened to me in front of a painting before.
I think it was the beauty of the piece and also my complete gratitude for being able to witness a work that will go back to Scotland and which I will probably never get to see again. “