She used to be strong and decisive. She had lovers once; she put her make-up on carefully and set out with a quiet thrill in the evening. Now, she’s hard to love and maybe she knows this. She gets irritated, she withdraws. But she needs other people to care for her. Anyone can end up in her position. And there are moments when a lot of people – at whatever stage of life – are a bit hard to admire or like. Love is often linked to admiration: we love because we find another person exciting and sweet. But there’s another aspect to love in which we are moved by the need of the other, by generosity.
The artist, Sydney Strickland Tully (‘The Twilight of Life, 1884), is generous to her. He looks with great care into her face and wonders who she really is.