Luminous Paint, Sky, and Suicidal Thoughts

In 1737 the First Royal Painter of Louis XV, Francois Lemoyne, went completely crazy and took his own life. Today looking at the ceiling in the Salon of Hercules, we may have difficulty discerning the painter’s standards for the luminous blue that drove him mad: dust, pollution, incessant breathing of millions of visitors at Chateau Versailles cloud the desired effect. If he were to come back to life, would he recognize his work? And if he did, wouldn’t he go mad and take his life again?

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