I'm thinking of Rembrandt painting himself to right the disparity
between the young man and the old body he'd become--what the rest saw
that was invisible to him except on the canvas, which he hung, I
would guess, as a reminder. It doesn't pay to stray too far, leads to
all manner of bad decisions. But it didn't work: the brush at rest
again he remained the age he'd painted, so he did it again. And
again. Tallying up the account.
At the end of his life he painted his son's bride, with perhaps more
depth than she knew she possessed, and a heartbreaking beauty. An old
man's wisdom and an old man's longing. And the young women parade
past still like presents wrapped in gaudy ribbons that one's
forbidden to disturb.
The son he had loved and the bride he had loved died a year after
him. Spared at least that sorrow.