Paintings and Poetry at the Khalil Gibran museum in Lebanon

January 15, 2010 by  

In some ways this story is more about words than pictures, or is it more pictures than words? for it’s about the American-Lebanese poet and painter, Khalil Gibran whose museum and last resting place at Bcharre I visited on my visit to Lebanon.

Khalil Gibran museum at Bchare in Lebanon

Khalil Gibran museum at Bchare in Lebanon

You may not have heard of Khalil Gibran, but you have probably heard his poetry even though you don’t realise it. It’s that brand of spiritual wisdom that twangs the emotional chords and touches the heart, although the sceptic in you may find it a little cheesy and say ‘is life really so simple?’ Gibran’s most famous work is The Prophet, the story of a wise man about to leave his home country, who before he leaves is asked by his followers to give them the benefit of his wisdom on subjects of life, love, death and everything in between. These qotations from The Prophet will give you the flavour.

On marriage;

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

View from the Khalil Gibran museum at Bchare in Lebanon

View from the Khalil Gibran museum at Bchare in Lebanon

I visited the museum with a friend on our mini road trip around Lebanon, having driven north from Beirut, inland through the Quadisha valley and up towards the high pass over the Mt Lebanon. We stopped at Bcharre, high up on the side of a valley with fantastic views. With roses blooming on the terrace of the museum, it was easy to see why Khalil Gibran chose to return to Lebanon after emigrating as a child to America and requested this former monastery as his final resting place.

Khalil Gibran on children from the Prophet;

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

At the Khalil Gibran Museum at Bchare in Lebanon

At the Khalil Gibran Museum at Bchare in Lebanon

The museum brings home that Gibran was as much a painter as a writer and poet and he studied art in Paris in 1908 under Auguste Rodin. At the museum you’ll find a large collection of Gibran’s paintings and drawings housed in a series of small gallery rooms that lead from one to another on different levels until you reach the former monastery chapel where Gibran’s casket was placed along with some of his favourite posessions. There’s also a small shop on the way out to buy postcards and books about Khalil Gibran’s work.

khalil Gibran on joy and sorrow from The Prophet;

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain

Khalil Gibran museum at Bchare in Lebanon

Khalil Gibran museum at Bchare in Lebanon

The Khalil Gibran museum in Lebanon

The Khalil Gibran museum in Lebanon

After our visit to the Museum, my friend and I had lunch at a cafe beneath a waterfall overlooking the valley then continued on our way over the snowline on Mt Lebanon and down into the Bekaa valley beyond. If you enjoy the poetry of the Prophet and want to read more of the wisdom you can find it here.

Do tell me whether you find Khalil Gibran’s poetry cheesy or heart warming?

This article is posted as part of Photo Friday over at Delicious Baby – head over to see all the other Friday photos.

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11 Comments on "Paintings and Poetry at the Khalil Gibran museum in Lebanon"

  1. Victoria on Fri, 15th Jan 2010 9:38 am 

    I used to read Kaiil Gibran as a philosophy student years ago. I found it the teensiest bit cheesy, but I still enjoyed it.

  2. Dominique on Fri, 15th Jan 2010 4:03 pm 

    You used to hear the obligatory Gibran readings at 1970s weddings (I remember having to do one as a member of a wedding party). I always thought it was a bit cheesy in that context. Reading your post and learning a bit more about the man, maybe I wouldn’t feel quite that way these days 🙂

  3. Emily @ Maiden Voyage on Fri, 15th Jan 2010 6:18 pm 

    What beautiful photos! I love the statue in the water and the museum, which looks like it is built right out of the rock. His thoughts on children are quite interesting…I somewhat agree, actually, as children do grow into becoming their own person. Though it is a wee bit cheesy 🙂

  4. Barbara at Hole in the Donut Travels on Fri, 15th Jan 2010 9:59 pm 

    I have always loved the poetry of Khalil Gibran and try to live my life as simply as his words advise. If everyone would adhere to this life view, we would have world peace. The museum looks like a lovely place, a fitting tribute to such a wise man.

  5. Mark H on Sat, 16th Jan 2010 2:27 am 

    I feel a little ignorant but I’ve not heard of Gibran. What a wonderful outlook on life Gibran endorses.

  6. Mara on Mon, 18th Jan 2010 1:48 am 

    This is a lovely post – I really like how you brought his words into your description.

    When I was a teenager I loved The Prophet, and while your post didn’t send me rushing back to read it, I agree that it fares much better in context.

  7. Sherry Ott on Mon, 18th Jan 2010 5:35 am 

    Like Mark – I’ve never heard of him before – but the story is fascinating. Thanks for adding this great spin on travel by sharing the poetry – I love it! I actually really liked the poem on Marriage…a bit bleak in a way – but I really enjoyed it!

  8. mbugua kibera peter on Mon, 19th Jul 2010 6:48 am 

    hi, i came across the works of Khalil Gibran sometime back in 1999.
    the treasured writings of ‘Khalil Gibran’ since then.. i have read some of his works.
    in short , i was inspired.. now i am writing the ‘The wisdom of khalil gibran.
    i also have the PROPHET…and can’t get enough of it.
    to inspirational.
    i am from kenya. i work with the number one newspaper called THE STANDRAD as a photojournalist.
    you can see some of my works under the byline: mbugua kibera on the standardonline.
    thanks guys for sharing this story of this great man.
    be blessed all the time.

  9. mbugua kibera peter on Mon, 19th Jul 2010 6:51 am 

    sorry iam now reading ‘THE WISDOM OF KHALIL GIBARN’ not writing. just a typing error

  10. michelle yamamoto on Fri, 23rd Dec 2011 9:10 pm 

    I am looking for a phone number/ website for the Khalil Gibran museum…do you have any suggestions?



  11. Heather on Tue, 27th Dec 2011 1:05 pm 

    @Michelle My Lonely Planet gave me the following details Tel: 671 137 but the website addess given in the guide no longer seems to work

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