Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe, how much it altered her person for the worst.

—Swift, Thoughts on Religion

Iris Murdoch taught philosophy for five years at the Royal College of Art in London, and her travels were closely connected to her interest in art. She visited museums all over the world, and was particularly keen to see works by Benardino Luini, Jacopo Bassano, and Edvard Munch. She was deeply moved by Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection when she made the pilgrimage to his birthplace, Borgo San Sepolcro.

When I interviewed Murdoch for the Paris Review in the summer of 1990, she said,

I love painting. I love looking at pictures, and I did once very much want to be a painter. . . . I know a lot of painters. I know what painting is. I enjo ...