Notes toward a theory of this portrait

It must be seen that you aren’t a being that smiles.

Gaze is a contemplative gesture. Downward gaze might represent a self remembering what it has felt; upward gaze might represent a self imagining what it is going to feel. In these instances and all others, the represented self is a self looking inward. Nothing outside the self can be thought to matter. That is, in a portrait nothing except the self can be seen to matter.

Technical note about that: in a portrait, selective focus has the effect of subordinating and excluding from consideration all that is not face, contemplating.

Test: as portrayed, does your face entail the term “distinguished”?



For Franz Kline


The image of the Cunard linerĀ Mauretania in World War I dazzle paint is on the web, but I haven’t found its original source. The anonymous posting that I downloaded and photoshopped dates the image as April 2, 1917, but that is clearly wrong because the flags indicate that the picture was taken in an American port and the United States didn’t enter the war until April 5. I’d guess that the picture was taken in New York on December 2, 1918, at the same time as the image I posted about on October 23, 2016.