934. That night he looked at every image in the art history book, giving special attention to the color plates. He looked at the artists Rose had mentioned with admiration, all of these were toward the end of the book in a chapter on post-impressionism. The artists she had criticized were in the earlier chapters. He could see clearly that the post-impressionist painters drew things out of proportion and used color in an arbitrary way just like he did.
935. But those post-impressionists managed to distort their figures, and employ odd colors in a way that was very different than the way he did. It was as if they could have done it all realistically, but chose not to because they had some different obscure purpose.
936. He finished looking at the art history book, set it aside and had a look at his pictures with a fresh eye. What he saw seemed utterly stupid to him. By comparing his own work to the pictures in an art history book, he was doing the worst thing a new artist can possible do, especially in this day and age.
937. A person might gain something by looking at Rembrandt's paintings if one could go over to Rembrandt's house and have a long talk with him about how he did what he did. But not only has Rembrandt been dead a long time, dead also are his patrons, the institutions and political systems of his day, as well as all the assorted trivial facts, procedures, opinions and ideas of that time.