He was not tall, unobtrusive, but he held your attention with his fever- ish silence, his dark cheer, his alternately arrogant and oblique manner – grim, as they said. At least that was how he was seen later in life. None of that appears on the Würzburg ceilings, on the south wall of the Kaisersaal to be precise, in the wedding procession of Frederick Barbarossa, in the portrait Tiepolo left of him, when the model was twenty years old: he is there, so they say, and you can go see him, perched among a hundred princes, a hundred constables and ushers, as many slaves and merchants, porters, putti and animals, gods, merchan- dise, clouds, the four seasons and the four continents, and two incon- testable painters, the ones who assembled the world that way in its exhaustive recension and are nevertheless of the world, Giambattista
Excerpted from The Eleven by Pierre Michon. Copyright © 2013 by Pierre Michon. Excerpted by permission of Archipelago, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.