“This court pronounces you guilty of the rape and murder of the young student, Rachel and sentences you to life imprisonment,” pronounced Justice Gavioni. Titian slumped and wept inconsolably even as a battery of lawyers comforted him.
Aeons ago lived a celebrated painter. His name was Leanardo Titian and he was feted for some extraordinary pieces of work. The deft strokes of his brush enlivened the canvas; characters of his works unfailingly appeared to emerge out of the canvas. Such was the mastery and command over the art. And this trait was visible both to the connoisseur and to a novitiate attempting to gain proficiency in the craft.
The artiste prior to commencing a newfangled idea had a peculiar habit of lying on the sands of a beach and gazing at the shimmering stars and other celestial bodies. He would then cogitate for a while trying to figure out the work in the alcoves of his mind.
This was followed by a miracle; a Mandrake like preternatural occurrence would take place and the stars and other celestial bodies metamorphosed into the painting in the depths of the skies. Titian lived with this illusion for days and would be locked in his studio for hours and emerged only after producing a masterpiece.
One night Leanardo was looking at the sky and received a message from the empyrean to paint Jesus. He was momentarily taken aback but then in the geometry of his mind, he mapped a sublime, seraphic image of Jesus.
Titian, in order to paint Jesus, roamed the streets of his town for days together. He visited churches, places of worship, seminaries and orphanages among others in pursuit of his deiform Jesus. But he could not find his Jesus.
After a long hunt he came across a beggar on the streets, looking radiant and pious, divinity personified. “Yes, he is the Jesus of my painting, this will be my masterpiece!” gushed Titian. He persuaded the beggar to be his model so that he could paint Jesus on canvas.
The renowned painter took the beggar home and fed him, tended to his needs and spent hours painting the dream project. Finally after a month Jesus was painted onto the canvas. Now fully fed and properly clothed, Sandro remained no longer a vagrant and walked out of the workroom after being suitably compensated.
Once a pauper, Sandro was suddenly a prosperous man. He came to own a house, married a prepossessing woman, set up a chain of breweries and played with wealth.
Meanwhile Leanardo’s Jesus was displayed at several galleries and museums and the painter was feted with awards. Numerous images of Jesus were made and the popularity of the dauber skyrocketed. However despite the enormous popularity and wealth he felt a deep hollowness in his being. The painter felt something was amiss.
Then one night he went and lay down at the beach, looking at the rising waves in the sea. His mind was flooded with antipathetic emotions and fiendish thoughts. Titian looked up to the skies, at the stars and heavenly bodies and closed his eyes in deep contemplation. He felt as if Satan had overpowered his overwrought mind.
The artiste felt that Lucifer, the supreme personification of evil, who lead a revolt against the heavens was goading him to paint Judas. “Why Judas?” mused Titian to himself.
An angel from the skies whispered, “The divinity of Jesus would be revealed in totality only when you paint Judas.”
Thus began his search for a Judas. He visited taverns, brothels and finally located a devilish character. This individual appeared menacing and had indulged in all kinds of vices. This Lucifer was charged for rape, attempted murder had amassed ill-gotten wealth and lived with women of ill-repute.
Leanardo, the fabled painter had to provide a large number of blandishments to the fiendish character in order to make the intimidating-looking individual pose in the studio. Among various allurements were alcohol and a tart every evening.
The atmosphere of the workstation became grimy, full of the stench of negativity as the arduous process of painting climaxed. Eventually a Judas emerged on the canvas and an enervated painter bid the fiendish looking Lucifer goodbye.
Titian felt immensely relieved as the threatening character left his studio. He placed the painting of Judas next to that of Jesus.
Indeed, the angel’s words were true! The image of Jesus came alive, sporting a luminous halo, Judas looking even more wretched in comparison.
Strangely enough copies of images of Judas were also a big draw and several thousand copies were made and sold in the market. In fact all those who had procured the image of Jesus bought that of Judas too.
The popularity of Leonardo Titian zoomed to stratospheric heights and he was to become the most legendary painter of his times. As a mark of gratitude, the gifted painter paid obeisance at various seminaries and churches and thanked the Almighty. Lucifer was quick to command him to visit brothels and taverns to spend a night with women of ill repute and indulge in drunken bouts.
Finally he lay on the sands of the beach and looked at the sky and thanked all celestial beings for inspiring him to paint the two masterpieces. The good and the evil were cast in stone, so to speak, captured on canvas forever.
Leanardo cast away the robe of Jesus that he had obtained from a seminary and the bowl belonging to Sandro and let go the hands of Michele, the woman who slept with him several nights. He was tired and exhausted leading multiple lives and decided to read the Holy Bible once again, in search of peace and solitude.
He was now imprisoned in a dingy cell; here he painted on the walls the images of Jesus and Judas.
Life is full of vicissitudes and many a time fact is stranger than fiction.