From “To the Venus de Milo”
“For myself, the ancient masterpieces blend themselves in my memory with all the joys of my early manhood; or rather, the antique is my youth itself, which surges still in my heart and hides from me the fact that I have grown old.
As in early times saints revealed to the young monk in his cell all those things useful for a youth to know, so in the Louvre these Olympian gods whispered them to me; later they protected and inspired me. After an absence of twenty years I came back to them with a joy indescribable, I understood them.
These divine fragments, these old marbles which have existed more than two thousand years, speak to me more clearly, move me more profoundly than living persons.
If, in their turn, the younger generation would but meditate upon these marvelous works, would strive, through intelligence and love, to elevate themselves to their height, they would find in them their deepest joy.”