632. Coromo was looking at color reproductions of paintings, not actual paintings, so it was a few minutes before the truth dawned on him; these were reproductions of actual oil paintings, pictures done with the exact same oil paints and turpentine he had at home. Some man, many years ago had been able to make those same materials look like a beautiful woman's glossy naked flesh.
633. Not only could he make oil paint look like a woman's flesh, he could also paint drapery as if you could see through it, the blush on a child's cheek, the sweet smile of an angel whose face is shrouded in shadow, mist on distant hills, the glow of sunlight on a vase inlaid with precious stones, wisps of hair blowing in a breeze, castles and mansions miles away seen through the vapour of a misty dawn.
634. Back at home Coromo was hardly able to make oil paint of a single color fill in a simple shape without smearing the stuff all over the place, and getting it on his clothes and in his hair and ears. As he looked at Bouguereau's paintings a feeling of shame crept over him. He though his paintings were like a broken child's toy on a trash heap compared to the great works of art in a museum in some far away place.
635. And yet there was something about the paintings of Bouguereau he did not like which gave him a sort of sick feeling; the women were too beautiful, the places too perfect, the expressions too cloying. "It's really like pornography in a way", he thought.