fragment from “the invisible museum”

Daniel woke to the sight of his fingers stained with pigments that he had ground by hand the day before, crushed from the same rocks and minerals mixed with the plant dyes that Caravaggio had used long ago. Making paint was kitchen chemistry. He kept a separate mortar and pestle for each color in a metal-topped drawer meant for bread. His porcelain sink was tainted with the brilliant dust. It had marred his sheets and left bright bruises on his own pale skin. He whispered the names like an incantation: verdigris, yellow ocher, vermillion, madder lake.

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