Portrait of the Artist

The Vagabond

Coming out of Fine Arts 13, Vag met Rembrandt's ghost. "It would be better if you were never exposed to art at all," said Rembrandt. "This confounded vacuum approach. It puts my work in a box to be described by would-be aesthetes in technical terms."

"Whaa?" said Vag.

"Bah!" The ghost shimmered as he shuddered. "A bunch of limp and gutless people trembling for fear they might like something they shouldn't. They have to be told by Experts what is good and why."

"Are you speaking of the mass?" asked Vag. "Or the volume?"

"I'm speaking of the mass all right. The mass of brainless idiots who can't draw their way out of a canal and think they can teach art."

"Who are you, anyway?" demanded Vag indignantly. He was late for lunch.

"I am a genius, boy. The name's Van Rijn."

"Oh, my God. You're the guy who was good because he introduced a new conception of dark tones which gave power and force to the contrast of a few bright and brilliant colors."

"Don't stop," said the ghost, a scowl on his face.

"Like Caravaggio, you valued truth and sincerity over harmony and beauty."

"Go on," muttered Rembrandt.

"You had an uncanny knowledge of human feelings and reactions."

"Don't fool yourself, boy. I was a physics problem." Rembrandt's ghost spat on the floor.

"Whaa?" said Vag.

"Bah!" retorted the ghost.

Then he disappeared before Vag could call the professor.