The Slow Arrow of Beauty

Painting by Caspar David Friedrich (1822)

The slow arrow of beauty. – The noblest kind of beauty is not that which suddenly transports us, which makes a violent and intoxicating assault upon us (such beauty can easily excite disgust), but that which slowly infiltrates us, which we bear away with us almost without noticing and encounter again in dreams, but which finally, after having for long lain modestly in our heart, takes total possession of us, filling our eyes with tears and our heart with longing. – What is it we long for at the sight of beauty? To be beautiful ourself: we imagine we would be very happy if we were beautiful. – But that is an error.