diary / by Edward Mullany


On a wall in a room in a museum in Amsterdam, in colors that seemed to me muted, or unobtrusive, though not without a harmony that impressed itself on my mind, was a painting of a woman whose figure was visible to the viewer, but whose back was turned, so that one saw her face only in profile, and could only guess at the thoughts or expressions that might’ve been evident if she’d swiveled around, or that would’ve been suggested if there had been objects beside her, on a table or a washstand, for instance, to give us insight into her personality and circumstances, in whatever interior she may have been in, depending on where the painter had worked when he’d painted the model this woman was based on, assuming she was based on a model at all, and was not, instead, conceived in his imagination, and portrayed as she was, in this foreground that had no features and no context, but rather was dark, so that even if there had been a thought or an expression on her face, it wouldn’t have occurred in actuality, or have been experienced by a person who’d existed, but would only have been invented, as the entire woman had been, for the effect the painter wanted to convey.