El Greco and light

By Paulo Coelho

One pleasant spring afternoon, a friend went to visit the painter El Greco. To his surprise, he found him in his studio with all the curtains closed.

El Greco was working on a painting which had as its central theme the Virgin Mary, and he was using only a single candle to light the room. His bemused friend commented:

‘I had always been told that painters need sunlight in order to select the right colours. Why don’t you draw the curtains?’

‘Not now,’ said El Greco. ‘That would disturb the brilliant fire of inspiration inflaming my soul and filling everything around me with light.’

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