Nearly a decade and a half ago I bought a book from a local bookstore that cost me Rs 70.00, that is, less than a dollar. The book was author Jane Austen’s one of the masterpieces, Emma, written in 1815. And it was published by Orient Longman in India.
The cover of the book, which is still there in a small library that I have in my home, is decorated with a painting of a girl; portrait of a slender, pale skinned beauty with deep thoughtful eyes; ‘…sweetest and best of all creatures, faultless in spite of all her faults’. Though I always appreciated the painting yet for some inexplicable reason I never searched for the name of its creator or looked for other details about the painting.
Yesterday, when I was viewing the treasures of some of the reputed galleries of the world the picture suddenly jumped out at me. It was Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’s (29th August, 1780 – 14th January, 1867) Mlle Rivière. Painted by the French Neoclassical painter in 1806, it is in priced possession of Louvre now. The image of the painting will tell you why this discovery resulted in such a delightful reaction from me.
Footnote: While re–checking I found out the name of the painter clearly mentioned on the back of the book, a fact that I managed to overlook for such a long time! It is not only reading ‘between’ the lines but also reading ‘beyond’ the lines that are necessary for a thorough knowledge on a subject.