Where is my easel? The plague take those g - s for taking off my easel and leaving it there in the corner. What! Indiscretion, thy name is woman! Look, she has written her title, May Antigone Livingstone, on my easel. Some one has said we can do nothing worse than write a book about an enemy, but I am certain that I can do nothing better than to paint Antigone beside her name, either as she is, might, or should have been, or as I imagine her to be. But what school shall I take as a model? I rather like the French, if they would use a little more drapery. The Dutch have more drapery than the French, though they are deficient in other respects. I cannot bear the sight of those Dutch girls with hats something less than the circumference of the earth, and with market baskets in their hands. No, Rembrandt, we cannot follow you; you loved nature, but it was a vulgar nature. The English are bad also, especially Turner; he is too landscapy. If I had only a head to paint, I might take the Florentines as masters, but I must give Antigone the rest of herself as well as a head. Only Venice and Athens remain; which shall it be? I will make a compromise by taking color and chiaroscuro from Titian, form from the Greeks. Now I am ready to proceed with the execution.
First, Antigone, I will give you a black eye, to indicate that you must not scribble on my easel again; and long flowing hair, to show that you are in love. For this I take yellow ochre and gamboge, not too much of either, with a slight infusion of chiaroscuro. She shall have a blue tunic like the Sienese madonnas, spotted with little stars. For this, take cobalt, Mars orange, and Chinese white, about half and half. Her feet must be delicately sandalled, as if to walk only on a bed of roses. Around her neck there must be a bracelet, and a fillet on her forehead, to hold the front tresses when caught in the breezes. Her arms I leave untouched in chiaroscuro. Now, she is daintily and trimly dressed as any goddess might wish. How beautifully her white and lovely arm contrasts with the blue gown. Compare the picture, Antigone, with yourself, when you come to-morrow, and see whether I have painted you or Venus Urania.