2392. “That mural restorer was a very interesting person, and he was in the habit of holding forth on any subject that crossed his mind as he worked for endless hours up on the scaffold in the library. It just so happened that I was in the process of translating Gibbon’s The Fall Of The Roman Empire into Sanskrit and so I got to listen to his endless stories,” said the Duck.
2393. Of the stories he told I think the most important
to our discussion were the ones related to the subject of art historical
anecdotes. I asked him if he know of any such stories from his own
experience. But before I tell you his answer to that question, I have to
say something about the mural itself as that is germane to our
conversation. The library was in Milan in a Dominican monastery. It had
been painted in fresco in the year 1290 by a follower of Cimabue by the
name of Faldonni.
2394. It was at a time when Cimabue was at the height of
his fame, and in order to complete his many projects and commissions it
was necessary for him to hire numerous assistants and apprentices. Not
all of these apprentices were equal to the tasks assigned to them, and
one of the most problematic was this Faldoni, who was a ward of the
convent, and had grown up in the care of the holy fathers.
2395. Buboni interrupted the Duck to point out that most likely no one even knew who this Cimabue was and that a little background was necessary. The Duck simply nodded and Buboni gave us some background information about him. “The dates of his supposed birth and his death tell a story all by themselves. He was born in 1240 and died in 1302, in-other-words, he was one of the last painters of medieval times, and one of the first artists of the renaissance. His works are not one or the other.