Portrait

The Portrait

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He is standing in front of his easel with his eyes closed, thinking about the past weekend. The opening reception of his last exhibition was a great success. The last three years he had been dedicating himself to portrait painting. The word had quickly spread that he is a painter with a knack for understanding and painting the essence and substance of a human being. Over the weekend, he achieved a new breakthrough.

His sitters had made their portraits available and participated in the opening reception. Deep conversations took place among the impressed visitors. The atmosphere was such that nobody wanted to go home.

He had also painted a self-portrait.  On the evening before the opening, he had walked through the gallery and stood for a long time in front of his self-portrait. It became apparent to him that all the portraits carried a certain echo of each other, and that they all had a certain resemblance to his self-portrait.

His eyes were still closed. He remembered the different sittings and suddenly a visage, lighter than himself, appeared inside of him. Vague in its outlines, it absorbed him, took sway over him. It was he. Time and space were dissolving.

He looked up and saw himself standing in the studio… at the same time he saw moments of his life, which appeared as a landscape passing by.

He stood at the easel with his head lowered. He contemplated the visage that he saw. As fast as it appeared, as fast as it took control of him, it disappeared; at least that was how he felt. What/Who was that?

It was clearly he beholding himself. That was undisputable. And still it was someone else – retracted in the background, observing him from deep space. The quietness, the remarkable calmness, the light that he experienced in this moment… He felt that it left its traces. He asked himself: Was there a dash of sadness in the visage? Was there an expectation involved, aimed at the man in front of the easel?

He opened his eyes and intuitively started to sketch.

The following day he put the completed painting beside his self-portrait. Visitors are approaching. Unable to avert their gazes from the new painting, they ask: “Who is it?” There is something mysterious radiating from the portrait. Everybody feels that it relates to himself, to herself.

 

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