Sculpting Veils


Sculpting Veils

By Cathleen Elise Rossiter

Isn’t it fascinating the lengths one goes to in order to hide from that which is most desired – personal connectedness with other Human Beings? Lately, everywhere I look, in real life or otherwise, I have been bombarded with scenes of people engaged in the art of carefully, skillfully sculpting the veil, or veils, they will wear in each particular situation in which they find themselves (public or private). The goal being to put a barrier up against close human contact because their true selves might be discovered.

Raffaelle Monti (1818 – 1881), the Italian sculptor who sculpted The Veiled Vestal on display at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England, was a master of sculpting veils of marble that appeared as translucent as silk chiffon.  His technique was to polish certain parts of the marble to create reflective surfaces in strategic places while leaving others areas unpolished, thereby enhancing shadows and creating the illusion of light filtering through the veil. This is a demanding technique attempted by only the most skilled sculptors.  Upon learning about Signor Monti’s technique and his dedication to his craft, I couldn’t help but think of the people I know who have dedicated their lives to meticulously sculpting their wardrobe of veils.

There are those who have never felt as though they belong anywhere so they polish their Belligerent spot to highlight their courage and keep their fear and loneliness hidden in shadow. There are those who feel they are not good enough or deserving enough for any goodness in their lives so they polish their Bad Luck spot or their Victim spot to highlight their unworthiness and keep their true value in shadow, hidden from even themselves. Others feel a sense of entitlement to be in a better position or have better things than they currently possess without putting the time and hard work into achieving the better position or material things, so they polish their Charming Nature spot to highlight their deservedness and keep their inadequacies in shadow, dreading the day they are discovered.

Each of us has our own areas we feel inadequate about and prefers not to highlight or show to anyone, even ourselves. Oftentimes we do not realize that we have been wearing a veil. We become so caught up in the narrow focus of the task at hand (polishing) that we lose sight of the fact that we were trying to hide rather than face the truth head on and be done with it. We are convinced that our veil, or veils, is as solid as marble, impenetrable. Yet, like Signor Monti’s marble veils, the world can see right through them.

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