The Artist's Eternal Apple

The Artist's Internal Eternal Apple

In a dimly lit workshop in 17th-century Amsterdam, master craftsman Willem shaped molten glass into a flawless apple. As he worked, the apple seemed to pulse with an otherworldly energy, as if aware of the extraordinary fate that awaited it.

Earlier, Willem had a heated argument with his landlord over unpaid bills and was threatened with eviction. His inability to pay rent was not due to a lack of talent but his low social standing. Days earlier, he had tried to collect IOUs from deadbeat clients who had taken his art without paying.

Willem's hands trembled as he worked, his mind replaying the heated argument with his landlord. 'One more week,' he had begged, but the threat of eviction hung over him like a storm cloud. It wasn't lack of talent that left him penniless, but the cruelty of a world that valued social standing over artistry. As he polished the apple, he poured his frustration and dreams into the glass, unaware of how this would shape its destiny.

On his last attempt to collect a debt, Willem entered the home of a collector filled with antiques. When Willem asked for payment, the owner had his lackeys throw him out. One of the lackeys struck him on the head with a genie's magic lamp, causing both the brass lamp and Willem's skull to crack.

A whirlwind of smoke erupted from the lamp, coalescing into a towering genie. The magical being's eyes darted from the unconscious Willem to the glass apple that had rolled from his grasp. With a knowing smile, the genie placed a hand on Willem's forehead, reading the artist's deepest desires. 'Ah,' the genie mused, 'a dying wish for immortality through art. How poetic.' He glanced at the apple, an idea forming. 'Perhaps not the immortality you imagined, but a legacy nonetheless'.

With a mischievous glint in his eye, the genie turned to the wealthy collector. 'For your cruelty, you shall know the shame of an artist scorned.' He waved his hand, and suddenly the man doubled over, releasing a thunderous belch. 'Your greed has rotted you from within,' the genie declared. 'Now the world will see your true nature.' The collector's face paled as he realized his prestigious life was about to crumble.

Willem's apple was a marvel, a blend of art and alchemy, destined to inspire generations. After Willem's death, the genie ensured the apple became a mystical ethereal artifact, its magic an inspirational figment surviving only in every artist's mind.

The Age of the Dutch Masters

The glass apple, imbued with Willem's passion and the genie's magic, first found its place among the still lifes of the Dutch Masters. Rembrandt, known for his masterful use of light and shadow, was inexplicably drawn to the apple's mysterious depths. As he placed it on a table next to a vase of wilting flowers and a half-eaten loaf of bread, he felt a surge of inspiration. The resulting painting captured not just the fleeting nature of life, but also the hidden turmoil that Willem had poured into his creation.

Vermeer, too, fell under the eternal internal apple's spell. While painting his famous 'Girl with a Pearl Earring,' he found himself subtly reflecting the apple's stormy interior in the girl's wide eyes. Unknown to him, he was channeling Willem's unfulfilled dreams and the genie's ancient magic, suggesting a world of tempestuous emotion behind the girl's calm exterior.

The Enlightenment and Beyond

As time marched on, the glass apple passed through the hands of philosophers and scientists, its magic adapting to inspire rational thought as well as artistic expression. It found its way to Isaac Newton's study, where the great scientist marveled at its perfect form and the curious storm within. The apple's presence seemed to whisper secrets of the universe, echoing Willem's quest for understanding through art and science.

During this era, the apple also came into the possession of Mary Wollstonecraft. As she wrote her groundbreaking works on equality and education, she often gazed into the eternal internal apple's turbulent depths. In its swirling patterns, she saw a reflection of the social upheavals she sought to address, unknowingly drawing strength from Willem's centuries-old struggle against societal constraints.

The Romantic Era

In the 19th century, the apple's magic resonated deeply with the poets and writers of the Romantic era. Lord Byron, hosting one of his opulent gatherings, used the apple as a muse for his poetry. As he penned verses drawing parallels between the stormy seas within the apple and the tumultuous human soul, he unknowingly channeled Willem's passion and the genie's timeless magic.

Mary Shelley, while writing 'Frankenstein,' kept the apple close. Its presence seemed to whisper tales of creation and the blurring lines between life and art, inspiring her monstrous tale of life and death. The apple's influence echoed Willem's desire to create something that would transcend mortality.

John Keats, too, fell under the apple's spell. His odes to their mysterious allure captured the eternal struggle between beauty and decay, unknowingly reflecting Willem's battle against time and obscurity. The apple had become a symbol of the sublime, embodying the intense emotional experience that Romantic poets sought to capture.

The Modernist Movement

As the world moved into the 20th century, the glass apple found its way into the studios of modernist artists, its magic evolving to inspire new forms of expression.

Paul Cézanne, known for his intense focus on geometric forms and natural colors, was drawn to the apple's perfect shape. As he painted his famous apple still lifes, he found himself captivated by the subtle play of light within Willem's creation. Unknowingly channeling the original artist's meticulous craftsmanship, Cézanne's apples took on a solidity and permanence that seemed to defy time itself.

Paul Klee's encounter with the enchanted apple sparked a revolution in his artistic approach. The swirling storm within the glass inspired him to explore more abstract and whimsical interpretations of fruit. As he developed his ideas for the Pedagogical Sketchbook for the Bauhaus, Klee felt a strange connection to rebel against the long-established ideas of art and embrace the chaos of the new worlds.

Picasso, drawn to the apple's surreal nature, incorporated its essence into his abstract works. The inner storm became a metaphor for the chaos of the modern age, echoing Willem's own tumultuous life and the genie's timeless magic. As Picasso deconstructed and reassembled the apple's form in his paintings, he unknowingly paid homage to the original artist's dream of creating art that would change history.

Salvador Dalí, with his fascination for the bizarre and fantastical, was particularly susceptible to the apple's magic. In his dreamlike landscapes, the apple took on otherworldly qualities, its inner storm expanding to engulf entire scenes. Dalí's melting clocks and impossible structures seemed to spring from the same well of magic that the genie had tapped centuries ago.

Virginia Woolf, though not a visual artist, found herself inexplicably drawn to the apple. Its enigmatic beauty wove itself into the fabric of her characters' inner lives. As she explored the fragmented, ever-changing nature of reality in her novels, Woolf unknowingly tapped into the same magical current that had inspired artists for generations, carrying Willem's legacy into the realm of modernist literature.

The Pop Culture Icons

By the mid-20th century, the apple had become an icon in its own right, its influence spreading beyond the realm of fine art into popular culture.

Andy Warhol, with his love for commercial art and everyday objects, created a series of prints featuring the glass apple. As he juxtaposed its classical beauty with bold colors and patterns of modern advertising, Warhol unknowingly tapped into the apple's adaptive magic. His work bridged the gap between Willem's traditional craftsmanship and the mass-produced art of the modern era.

The Beatles, in a stroke of seeming coincidence, chose an apple as the logo for their record label, Apple Records. The image, inspired by René Magritte's painting of an apple, resonated with the band on a level they couldn't quite explain. Unbeknownst to them, they were channeling the same creative energy that had flowed from Willem's hands centuries earlier, fusing art, music, and commerce in a way that would define a generation.

The apple's influence extended to the counterculture movement, becoming a symbol of breaking from tradition and seeking new forms of expression. In this way, it continued to fulfill Willem's original wish, inspiring artists to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of creativity.

The Digital Age

As technology advanced, the glass apple's magic adapted once again. It began appearing in virtual art galleries, its stormy seas rendered in high-definition detail. Digital artists, unknowingly influenced by its presence, created swirling, dynamic pieces that echoed the turbulence within the apple.

Filmmakers, drawn to the apple's symbolic potential, incorporated its image into their movies. It became a visual shorthand for hidden depths and inner turmoil, carrying Willem's emotional legacy into the new medium of cinema.

Musicians across genres, from rock legends to pop stars, found themselves inexplicably incorporating apple imagery into their work. Album covers, music videos, and lyrics all bore the subtle influence of Willem's creation, infusing modern music with a sense of timelessness and mystery.

In Silicon Valley, tech moguls displayed replicas of the apple in their sleek, modern offices. To them, it represented the intersection of art and technology, a reminder of the power of creativity to drive innovation. Little did they know, they were tapping into a centuries-old magic that had been inspiring creators since Willem's time and a quest to find the mystical genie.


In a bustling modern city, the studio of an artist envisions an apple with its stormy depths reflecting the light from a nearby window. The artist, unaware of the apple's extraordinary history, finds herself inexplicably drawn to it.

As she reaches out to understand the glass apple her mind created, the storm within seems to intensify, swirling faster and faster, as if responding to her request. Her heart races, and she feels a surge of inspiration, unlike anything she's experienced before.

by Tracy Fetter © 2024