The man in the mask, which I describe in The Fall: Part 3, is a real painting. I saw it at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History years ago. I’d gone to Albuquerque for a conference and took part of a day to see the local sights, much like Katelyn does in the story. My description is from old memories, and I doubt I have a way to find the painting now, but my recollection is accurate … as memories go.
The Man in the Mask
The painting of the man in the mask was placed on the back wall of the main gallery. The canvas was less than two feet by three feet, the size of many portraits. I had started touring the room clockwise and had viewed a number of interesting paintings. I remember none but the one that dominated the left wall, a life-sized painting of a woman wearing an evening gown and standing in a pleasant, well-appointed room. I liked it but wasn’t sure why I should care about it. I realize now that it reminds me of portraits one sees of donors, and perhaps that is who she was. As I made my way around the room, I noticed that whoever had done the lighting had done an excellent job on all the pieces. The curator and staff had done well in creating an inviting experience. I relaxed and wandered, enjoying and taking in the colors and shapes and the subjects and themes of the paintings. I may have not rounded a large wall as Katelyn does, but, when I turned to the back wall, I abruptly and with some shock, came face to face with the portrait of the man in the mask.