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It was soon after this freak that his friends
begged him, as they had often done before, to sit for his likeness. Salvator had always
"My paintings shall represent me," he used to say. "Posterity may get some good by looking at them, but what would be the use of sending down my face for it to gaze at? Besides, if I wished ever so much to be taken, I could not be bored by sitting for my portrait. I never can sit still for long together, nor keep my countenance steady for five minutes."
His friend Lippi, the great painter, did his best to persuade him to change his mind, but in vain.
Lippi was in the habit of being read to whilst he drew, and kept a reader for this purpose. It happened one day when Salvator called on him that he had just stretched a new canvas for a fresh picture.
Lippi was a poet as well as painter, and his reader was
beginning to read aloud a poem he was about
Salvator, as he entered, nodded to Lippi, put his finger on his lip, and made a sign to the reader not to stop. He sat down in the carved oak gothic window-seat, which had some richly stained glass in it. Throwing back his head to rest on the oak panel, he soon became absorbed in listening to the poem.
Lippi was standing at his easel and about to put on the new canvas the first strokes of his intended drawing, when his eye caught Salvator's face and head lighted up by the brightly stained glass. His fine features being in perfect repose, and his eye beaming with expression from the interest he was feeling in what was being read, in an instant Lippi changed the subject of his picture, and with wonderful rapidity and accuracy he sketched his head, face, and bust, whilst Salvator supposed he was commencing
a totally different subject, on which they had consulted together the day before.
From this sketch he produced an exact and exquisitely painted likeness of his friend, which after his death sold for an enormous price.