The Fountain

She dislikes it, what she has done. She felt as much before his arrival, but now his insincere praise has doomed the moment, holding her here. To fold the easel now would be as though to flee him, or he would take it that way.
And so she paints yet, rather than give him this. The pretense. All pretense, this project from the beginning. The fountain is loud and its spray is an imposed caress, dampness like leering. She comprehends the error now, the error that has her. She had imagined art in terms of setting, how romantic it would be to paint on this spot. But art is agony and excess, and the only purpose of the workspace should be to contain and guard her as she pours out and spills over its creation. She flicks now through a work stillborn. He speaks; she ignores. Never again. Never again like this. She has made herself dull within a contrived scene. Never again will she let the work be lost because she is pleasant in how she makes it.

John Singer Sargent; The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy; 1907