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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Act 1, Scene 9

The narrative began with Act 1, scene 1 on April 10, 2013.
To access all scenes, scroll to blog archive at the bottom of the page.

And would you say that this particular concern also explains your distortion of shapes like bowls and vases, and even of figures and faces? Where did you find the courage to break so decisively from the observable appearance of things?

Take a look one day at El Greco's Opening of the Fifth Seal, and you may want to reconsider the idea that it was I who had this courage. Oh, I know that what I did was quite different, but one mustn't claim more than his due. I find it so interesting that a painter such as yourself, whose work is so nearly divorced from the things we actually see – except perhaps as a point of departure – that you speak of my efforts as courageous, even today. And your work, from my point of view, is a very compelling balancing act: power and peace, order and disorder; it can appear to be brutal and tender at the same time. I like it very much. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the multitude of interpretive approaches that artists have invented, once it became acceptable to diverge from what we had always thought of as the ultimate truth, the ascendancy of Renaissance window perspective. Courageous? Yes, perhaps. Certainly the critics were not kind to me in general. I think perhaps that these people who write about art have learned something since the early days, no?

Well, you may be right about some. It's true that most of those who write about art are less likely to denigrate something simply because it seems new, or doesn't fit easily into any identifiable tradition. A few are exceptionally good – those who truly know the difference between a great work of art and a near miss. I enjoy reading Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker Magazine, and some Canadian friends write very well.

Wait! Look over there, directly across the piazza. What is that commotion? Do you hear the shouting? Something is happening at the foot of the Campanile.

... standing now, and motioning for Shuebrook to follow him toward the commotion.
Three men. Two seem intent on killing each other while the third is trying to keep them apart. I think that is Titian brandishing a knife, isn't it?

You're right! Oh dear, this doesn't look good. Who are the others? Oh, I recognize Tintoretto, but ...

Cezanne, almost gleefully
The referee is Giorgione! Eternally young and strong – what a terrible tragedy to have lost him so early in life. Come, I love a good argument – all the mores if it comes to blows! Look – I think Titian is bleeding from the nose.

Shuebrook and Cezanne detach themselves from the crowd that has gathered, and continue their conversation as they enter the narrow street on the north side of the basilica and disappear from view.