Leo 19. A painting is cleaned, revealing colors of otherworldly beauty.
Those of a past era found the colors of the masterpiece too otherworldly, too disturbing of their own version of how the world should look. In these instances, when colors speak in uncanny ways, or reveal what they should have been hiding, it becomes necessary to protect ourselves with overpainting, so that the hues of normality may defend us from the tortuous ticklings experienced by the eye when inundated with the shimmerings of desire.
And then centuries later, when a yearning arises to look deeper, and we begin to feel at last the suffocations of the average, the masterpiece is taken to the laboratory and a layer carefully removed. And there we find underneath, happily, the humdrum has actually served to preserve the sublime’s true colors.