In the village of Casamicciola, on the northern shore of the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples, I acquired 29 meticulous mathematical drawings from a woman named Guillelmina who said they were made 20 years ago by a reclusive artist who wished to remain anonymous. The collection is entitled “Esistenza, Trinita, Dio.”
She said the artist was her cousin, now in his early 80s, who lives alone and rarely talks to anyone. He was about to throw them all into the trash, when he took her aside and said he knew she loved art and also loved to draw herself, so maybe she would like to take them away.
She replied, “Oh, sì, cugino, sì!”
Later Guillelmina told me a story .
She once rented a room to a guy from Munich whose girlfriend dumped him. He couldn’t get over his grief, his sense of betrayal and abandonment. He drank a bottle of vodka, then somehow stumbled up to the top of Punta Imperatore. He took off all his clothes, folded them into a neat pile, and then leaped off and splattered on the rocks below. The Carabinieri found a rent receipt in the pocket of his trousers, and called Guillelmina. Would she come to headquarters to identify the body, once it was recovered from those rocks? She said yes, of course. A few days went by, but no word. She called, asked the officer what was up. Well, the body hasn’t been picked up yet. Astonished, Guillelmina asked him why.
“What’s the big rush?” the officer replied. “He’s dead!”
Guillelmina said: "You can't really know what drove the German to suicide, as you'll never know what drove the artist to spend so much time with drawings he'd never show to anyone. Life is always a mystery, no?"