The Artist and the Angel
Once upon a time, there lived an Artist who crafted the most exquisite works of art in the entire kingdom. Everything he created, whether it be painting or sculpture, captured the hearts and imaginations of all those who gazed upon it.
One night the Artist was working on a new painting when an Angel appeared before him. The light of its halo bathed the entire room in a warm golden light. The Angel opened its mouth and sang with a voice sweeter than a thousand songbirds. So overwhelmed was the Artist by its stunning beauty that he fell to the ground as though dead.
When he woke up, the Angel was gone. The Artist sat up, staring into space. Was it a dream I had? he thought to himself. It could not have been, for it is impossible for a human mind to conceive such excellence.
His eyes caught sight of the unfinished painting sitting on his easel. Its very presence seemed like a hideous insult to the miraculous being that had graced his humble abode. So he grabbed a knife and tore the canvas to pieces.
“No more of this foolish fancy!” he cried. “I shall not rest until I have recreated the perfection of that Angel!”
The Artist worked day and night on his new masterpiece. But when he finished, he was utterly dissatisfied with his work and threw it out in disgust. Again and again he tried, but no matter what he did he simply could not capture the Angel’s perfection.
His devotion quickly turned into obsession. The Artist spent endless months painting and sculpting the image seared into his mind. Multiple Angels were created and destroyed in quick succession. He shut himself off from the rest of the world and refused to eat, drink or even sleep. All that mattered in the world was his Angel.
One night the Artist lay dishevelled on the floor by his easel, close to death. There was a flash of light and the Angel appeared before him once again.
“You have dedicated your life to honing your craft, and sought perfection even unto death,” the Angel said. “That which you seek cannot be achieved by mortal hands, but can only be found in Heaven. If you come with me, I can make you the most beautiful being in the universe, so that you yourself may become a living work of art.’’
Through dry lips the Artist whispered hoarsely, “Yes, I will go with you.”
So the Angel took the Artist to Heaven in order to recreate his body. When the Angel was finished, it brought up a mirror and said, “Look into this mirror, and behold beauty in its purest form.’’
When the Artist looked upon himself, he was met with such indescribable beauty that he immediately shielded his eyes so as not to be blinded. So terrified was he by his utter perfection that he fell to his knees, screaming and begging to be destroyed.
The Angel sighed sadly and said, “It seems that ultimate perfection was not meant for the eyes of man. But alas, it would be a travesty to bring destruction upon such magnificence.”
So in its mercy the Angel blinded the eyes of the Artist and turned him into a marble statue so that others would not be blinded by his true form. Then the Angel hid the Artist deep in the belly of a dark cave, which it sealed with a heavy boulder. Shrouded in darkness, it is here the Artist stands today, a work of art gazed upon by none.