"How accurate did you feel you had to be in writing about this time period? With regards to balance between research and imagination, how much license did you feel you had?
I’ll answer that, partly, with a story. In 1588 the painter Veronese was dragged before the Inquisition to answer questions about his great painting of the Last Supper. They asked him why, instead of just Christ and his apostles, there were dozens of figures in the painting? Veronese said the canvas was very large and he had to fill it!…Then what is the meaning, they asked, of the dwarf whose nose is bleeding, or the German soldiers? Veronese replied: “Here I must say something: we painters, like fools and poets, claim license…” Well, I claim some license too. Art is different from life. It has to have form. What I always say is that I’ve written a soap opera based on historical material!"
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The More Things Change - A Novel by Jim Murdoch
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