The French sculptor Rodin just finished a statue of the poet Hugo, standing on the crest of a rock. He brought a troupe of journalists to his studio to contemplate the work. Unfortunately, the evening before, he had left the window open and, as a storm broken out during the night, rain water reduced the huge group to a formless pulp. Hugo flopped down into a sea of mud.
Rodin was dismayed, but the chorus of praise began: "Wonderful! Marvelous! Hugo rising from this bed of slime, what a symbol! Master, it is a stroke of genius! You have successfully represented the ignominy of an epoch in which the inspiration of the bard alone survived. How beautiful! It is the masterpiece of masterpieces!"