[...] A great many years ago the celebrated German painter, [Peter] Cornelius, Thorwaldsen, the sculptor, and some three or four scholars were invited by a young Saxon painter of the name of Plattner to give their opinion respecting a cartoon on which he had been working for a considerable time. Plattner was not a genius, but a very amiable man, and much esteemed by all.
Behold the great cartoon, Cornelius, Thorwaldsen, and Plattner standing before it, all in dead silence, Plattner awaiting anxiously to hear the judgement which he expected to be pronounced upon his work. After some time had elapsed in profound silence, Cornelius in deep thought, in an instant, without uttering a word, ran up to the cartoon, and jumped smack through the middle of it. Thorwaldsen seeing this, also ran on and jumped after Cornelius, right through; then the scholars, like so many hounds, leaped one after the other, and followed their leader. Poor Plattner, what did he do? He also followed the rest, and through he flew, and joined the laughter of the whole company.
It seems that the composition of the cartoon was very defective, for the artist had divided his design into two equel parts, leaving the centre empty, and it was through the vacant space that the stern, severe judges took their leap. However, this terrible affair had its beneficial effect; for it cured the poor artist from his useless ambition in pursuit of high art. Soon after, the post of diplomatic agent was given to him. [...]