Weight of Beauty

A WORD is Worth Thousand Paintings...Saudade and other untranslatable words by Kerri McGill

My posts to this point focus on images.  Today I write about the word.  


We rely on language for all transactions, emotional, business and everything inbetween.   Written or spoken, the word can fall short sometimes.  Delve into something beyond banter, something below the surface of social interaction to emotions deeper felt, those driving forces of our daily actions.... This is when verbal communication lacks the accuracy to articulate emotion.  This is when the artist (visual or audial) reaffirms a hold on a deeper type of communication.

This thought is indebted to another's search, posted publicly:

I've been hunting down this word for years... And it's finally in my grasp. This is a perfect word for how this reality makes me feel most of the time:
Saudade
(The definition is mostly from Wikipedia)
Saudade is a Portuguese word that has no translation in English.  Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing/yearning for an absent something or someone that one loves, often one whose whereabouts are unknown, a lost lover or a family member gone missing.  It carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return. 
Saudade describes "the love that remains" after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone or something should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence.  One can have 'saudade' of someone whom one is with, feeling a loss towards the past or the future (e.g. unrealized/unfulfilled expectations).  While saudade conveys longing for a past that can never return as well as a future that will never happen, acceptance of the reality is also built into the word.  It embodies all that is positive of a time or feeling that is no longer, while deeply acknowledging the sadness of this truth.
In Brazil, the day of saudade is officially celebrated on January 30...
(I admit I am most curious about this holiday of heartache.)

Communication is a tricky game.  Similar background provides us with the same set of words that we combine in different formations and toss back and forth to each other.  We agree on meanings for all of these words, though different interpretations are inevitable.  There are times we search for just the right word.  Sometimes we never find that word.  It may not exist in our native language.  

A list of 20 untranslatable words gives more examples of things missing from our English.
(I really love #2 as well - Mamihlapinatapei)


The continual hunt is a constant for any artist.  They say the painter paints the same painting his whole life.  Like searching for the right word to convey the thought, the artist searches color, composition and subject to find the most powerful presentation of the idea.

The idea behind this one word, Saudade, is the source of hundreds of artist.  Hopper comes to mind quickest.

A painting may be worth a million words, 
but you can make a million paintings from the seed of one word... the right word.