The Bill: For Palma Vecchio, at Venice
In The Bill, Laszlo Krasznahorkai's madly lucid voice pours forth in a single, vertiginous, eleven-page sentence addressing Palma Vecchio, a sixteenth-century Venetian painter. Peering out from the pages are Vecchio's voluptuous, bare-breasted blondes, a succession of models transformed on the canvas into portraits of apprehensive sexuality. Alongside these women, the writer that Susan Sontag called "the Hungarian master of apocalypse" interrogates Vecchio's gift: Why does he do it? How does he do it? And why are these models so afraid of him even though he, unlike most of his contemporaries, never touches them? The text engages with the art, asking questions only the paintings can answer.