when i came in today i had to reread jeanette winterson's essay "art objects." i wanted to read about that first moment when she stood in a snowy amsterdam street, halted by a painting, feeling her heart flow away. the essay had been on my mind all morning - it always is on my mind when i am in art museums - but i also wanted it today because i knew that today i would identify with that passage in particular, a passage about the cessation of motion in the presence of beauty, and that i would recognise in myself the slow awareness of your heart flooded away - yourself helpless. and on this rereading of "art objects" i now see in winterson's urgency what elaine scarry described in "on beauty and being wrong." that the most frequent critiques of beauty include the apparent suspension of thought - that a person arrested by beauty engages in the act of gazing, not acting - but scarry argues that beauty "prompts the mind to move chronologically back in the search for precedents and parallels, to move forward into new acts of creation...and does all this with an urgency as though one's life depended on it." the repudiation of beauty is always an intellectual error.