Art Notes Book Club: Thoughts on Balzac's "The Unknown Masterpiece"

Below is an email from a member of the Art Notes Book Club, responding to Balzac's short story, "The Unknown Masterpiece."

"I too enjoyed the story.The protagonist's struggle to make a masterpiece; the finest painting ever conceived, and unfortunately the painter Frenhofer is so dissatisfied with his work that he paints it anew, and it is seen by his friends, with disastrous consequences for all. I think what brings more depth into the story is Frenhofer's obsession/possession complex  with his sublime visions, tinted phantoms, and je ne sais quoi. I  think this quote sums it up:  Young man," Porbus said, seeing Poussin stare open-mouthed at a picture,  "don't look at the canvas too long, it will drive you to despair." -Mi, Wisconsin, US.

Here's a link to my initial response to this short story, after clicking the link, you will have to scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see the entry: