I was beginning to understand the sudden interest of Master General Torriani in the matter. Years ago, our beloved superior had condemned the work of the artist Sandro Botticelli because of a similar suspicion. Torriana accused him of using images inspired by pagan cults to illustrate works destined for the Church. But his denunciation also contained more serious matter. Thanks to Bethany’s informers, Torriana had learned that Botticelli had, in the Medici’s Villa di Castello, depicted the arrival of spring using a “magic” technique. The dancing nymphs had been placed in the painting like the sections of a gigantic talisman. later, Torriana discovered that Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, Botticelli’s patron, had requested an amulet against aging, and the resulting painting was the magical remedy. In fact, Botticelli’s picture concealed an entire treatise against the onslaught of time which included half the divinities of Olympus dancing against the advance of Chronos. And they had pretended to pass off a work like this as something devout, proposing it as a decoration for a Florentine chapel!