"There are some great artists whose achievements we admire, so to speak, from the outside... But then there are artists whose work is not like this. They are the ones who acknowledge human imperfection and mortality. And not only acknowledge it, but in some sense glory in it, making it the prime subject of their art. For if men and women were perfect, mentally, physically, morally, spiritually, why would they need art at all?"
The writer concludes with a brief story on Rembrandt's knowledge of Pliny that captures the spirit of the painter late in life - solitary, aged, triumphant.
Image source: Guardian, AP