Diana, 16×20″ oil on linen.
Private Collection.

The daughter of a baker, Diana spent her childhood in the markets peddling goods and taking care of her mother. There were no entertainments, no leisure, but this she did not mind. As her eyes began to cloud, the blindness set in as she grew into a striking and provocative figure. The people said her blindness was punishment; she pleasured herself too much, she lent herself to men, that God only blinds those who are perverted. Sensing not a drop of vulgarity in Diana, an old woman from the market knew of ways to improve eyesight. Tea made from the gallbladder of a nightingale, drops of it unto the eyelashes, and satchels with feathers to carry. She took Diana to the church to be cured, but not holy water, rose water, or prayers could change her vision. Politely declining the offers of a needle or knife to her eyes, she consigned herself to her father’s bakery, in the basement ovens away from the public. No one wanted to buy tainted bread from a sexual deviant.