A Mystical Meeting

Personal Stories Art History

A Mystical Meeting

by Olessia Kantor
Artists Art History Art

Let me tell you a story.

Two days ago, a dear friend of mine, who resides in NYC, one of the most brilliant art historians I've ever met in my career, was visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We have explored the Met together in the past and he knows some of my deeply personal and complicated love affairs with a few of the works of art at the museum.

Before he went there, he'd texted me whether or not I would like him to visit my "loved one.

"Yes please," I replied. "Please, visit my Angel (Angel Gabriel, Annunciation by Gerard David) and my boys (Musicians by Carravagio) and tell them I miss them deeply."

And so he did. By the end of the day he sent me images of Angel Gabriel, Reindeer from the gallery of Japanese art, and even Washington Crossing the Delaware River. But Caravaggio's boys weren't among the images he sent.

For some reason I felt profound uneasiness.

This morning I woke up feeling impulsive. I thought "Today is my day off. Why don't I take a train to Naples? I've never been there," and without giving it a second thought, I went to Termini train station. It took an hour from Rome by Frecciarossa to get to charming, vibrant Naples, filled with dyanmic Southern colors, sounds, and flavors.

I was strolling up and down the sunkissed streets, hanging out at the bay, discovering impressive collections of archeological antiquities at the local museum. When it was about time to get back to the train station, I decided to take a quick stop for an Aperol Spritz on Piazza Plebescito before heading to the train. Somehow I realized that I'd lost my sense of direction and now in the midst of the labyrinths of Quartieri Spagnoli's narrow streets, having no clue where to turn next, I rounded the closest corner. Instantly, my heart stopped beating.

They were there. My Caravaggio's boys, my Musicians. Without knowing or planning, I'd found myself in front of the entrance to Gallery d'Italia.

In a somnambular state, I got a ticket and went to the second floor, where the painting from the Met was, unbeknownst to me, currently on display. It happened to be its LAST day in Naples, July, 23rd.

I was dizzy with emotion. I felt half-conscious, having trouble believing that all of this had really happened. I nearly fell onto a bench, eyes wide and staring in awe. I smiled, tears streaming, feeling so immensely grateful to have found my way to them, for them to have led me there.

The voice in my head quickly reminded me I needed to catch my train. It was almost like they had to see me sooner than they would have on the walls of the Met. A quick look at my phone confirmed that there were only 30 minutes left before my train departed. With my head still spinning and my heart racing, I blew them a kiss and rushed back to the train.

Now my skeptical friends, how might you explain this kind of mystical experience rationally?

Has anything similar ever happened to you ?