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Botticelli ~ Life of Moses

Ah, in those earliest days of love how naturally the kisses spring into life. So closely, in their profusion, do they crowd together that lovers would find it as hard to count the kisses exchanged in an hour, as to count the flowers in a meadow in May. Then she would pretend to stop, saying: “How do you expect me to play when you keep on holding me? I can’t do everything at once. Make up your mind what you want; am I to play the phrase or play with you?”, and he would get angry, and she would burst out laughing, a laugh that was soon transformed and descended upon him in a shower of kisses. Or else she would look at him sulkily, and he would see once again a face worthy to figure in Botticelli’s “Life of Moses”; he would place it there, giving to Odette’s neck the necessary inclination; and when he had finished her portrait in tempera, in the fifteenth century, on the wall of the Sistine, the idea that she was none the less in the room with him still, by the piano, at that very moment, ready to be kissed and enjoyed, the idea of her material existence would sweep over him with so violent an intoxication that, with eyes starting from his head and jaws tensed as though to devour her, he would fling himself upon this Botticelli maiden and kiss and bite her cheeks.

Marcel Proust ~ In Search of Lost Time
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    Je t'adore, courroux des vierges, ô délice
    Farouche du sacré fardeau nu qui se glisse
    Pour fuir ma lèvre en feu buvant, comme un éclair
    Tressaille! la frayeur secrète de la chair:
    Des pieds de l'inhumaine au cœur de la timide
    Qui délaisse à la fois une innocence, humide
    De larmes folles ou de moins tristes vapeurs.

    ~ Stéphane Mallarmé

    Gustave Courbet, Young Ladies Beside the Seine (Summer), 1856, Petit Palais, Paris
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