Titian, a painter not known to acquiesce in matters artistic, immediately disputed the sculptor's assertion. "Would you care to make a wager on it?" he challenged.
"Why not," replied Donatello. "Prove to me a painter can, in the one painting, match the work of a sculptor and I will give you five gold coins."
"Your on," smiled Titian, sticking out his paint-stained maw.
"Remember, a sculpture shows all sides of the face including the back of the head," cautioned Donatello, suddenly suspicious and not wanting to dirty his psalm unnecessarily. Titian, he knew, was quite a slippery customer. Leonardo, no slouch in that department himself had said as much last week at the football match. Also five gold coins was a wager of no mere trifle for and any artist.
"I'll bring it round next week then," offered Titian withdrawing his multi-colored hand.
"Bring the gold as well," smiled Donatello who was still buoyed by his recent success with the town square sculpture.
A week later Titian arrived in the local tavern with his painting wrapped in a drop-cloth. All the village artists who liked talking football strategy drank at the 'The Three Brushes' and were usually attended by that singularly angry youth Michelangelo who served the drinks - that was if he wasn't arguing with the pope about some ceiling or other he was painting - or driving a local cab.
"Got your five gold pieces?" sneered Donatello who had grown increasingly confident the more he thought about the problem and the more Jack Daniels he consumed.
"Here then," said Titian unwrapping his canvas. "And pray tell me what part of the head you don't see." A startled Donatello gasped out loud when he saw Titian had painted a head with a mirror behind and water underneath, a window glass on the left and a shiny armour breast plate on the right. Every facet of the face was thus revealed!
"You will note, that in addition to one of your 'stand-alone' sculptures, this painting has also provided a total environment!" Titian rubbed his hands in triumph.
"From roster to feather duster," said Donatello as he paid up . But then again, he thought, its only the excess coin I gained on my previous commission.
"OK enough of that - let's talk football," said Leonardo clapping Donatello on the back. Leonardo had once substituted for five minutes as fullback for Milan and was always looking for the opportunity to remind everyone. He snapped his fingers at Michelangelo and ordered another round.
Some specific late alterations are examined below and relate to this final view of the nude.
1. Remove all pillows.
2. Bring right front curtain forward.
3. Balance the red and green draperies more carefully.
4. Determine the angles and reflections on the silver.
5. Use the yellow - gold drapery to emphasise the left right diagonal.
6. Highlight couch.
7. Sign and date.
9. Had a shower, changed, grabbed my wallet, switched out the light and raced down to the nearest bar. When they asked I said, "Why, I just finished painting Sylvia."
"Who's Sylvia?" said the new Italian barman, Mario Canaletto, who was working two jobs since he needed the money. "Never seen you with no Silvia. What's she like?" "Well, I expect you could say she's cold and rather distant " ... you don't want to know the rest!
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