The excerpt represents the core issue or deciding factor on which you must meditate, and is drawn from The Hidden Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac:|
from the window in the roof, which fell full on the pale face of
Porbus and on the ivory skull of his singular visitor.
The attention of the young man was taken exclusively by a picture
destined to become famous after those days of tumult and revolution,
and which even then was precious in the sight of certain opinionated
individuals to whom we owe the preservation of the divine afflatus
through the dark days when the life of art was in jeopardy. This noble
picture represents the Mary of Egypt as she prepares to pay for her
passage by the ship. It is a masterpiece, painted for Marie de
Medicis, and afterwards sold by her in the days of her distress.
"I like your saint," said the old man to Porbus, "and I will give you