“A person himself believes that all the other portraits are good likenesses except the one of himself.” – Edvard Munch
I came across what I think is a most interesting site, Art and the World of Luis Quintanilla. Click here for a biography of this talented artist. A group of paintings titled "The Portraits of Authors as How they See Themselves" caught my attention.
The site said all text could be copied for non-commercial use, but nothing about the photos of the art itself. Since I don’t want to infringe on any copyrights, I’ll leave it up to you to click over to see any portraits you’re interested in.
Here are comments by a few of the authors:
Dorthy Parker as Betsy Ross
"We all have our crosses to bear, or so I am told, and among the more burdensome of mine is my face. Had I been consulted, things would have been vastly different. But I was not, and there I was, and there it was. So when Luis Quintanilla, deep in his project of painting various writers in the characters of those whom they secretly - well, perhaps not always quite that - considered themselves to be, asked me how I saw myself, I could only tell him the desperate truth: as a pastel old party, sitting in a corner, knitting. That was how the portrait started out. But then the artist, a man of infinite compassion, brushed in the cap and the shawl, and thus, by a few strokes, made something of my face and of me - a flagless Betsy Ross, say, or a non-arithmetical Madame Defarge. Either one enchants me, and gives me the incentive of emulation. And so I am truly grateful to a truly great artist."
George Jean Nathan as Hamlet
"I see myself as a somewhat somber fellow who views the meanness of life with a rebellious sense of its possible beauty and who subscribes for happiness and security to the recipe of sticking a rose into the brain and throwing a pitcher of ice-water over the heart. "
Elliot Paul as a Picador.
"It’s not so much the adoration of the crowd and the danger. Think of the hours. And if one is impaled or slashed, there are always the sulfa drugs.”
"I suppose everyone who is built for a picador wants to wear the cloth of gold, face the bull on his own level, and be fearless and precise. And Anglo-Saxons long to be Latins, and vice versa."
Here are the other authors listed:
Carl Van Doren as a Sculptor of Benjamin Franklin. He was a Franklin scholar and had written his biography.
Leonard Lyons as Mercury, the messenger of the gods. He was a widely read gossip columnist for the New York Post.
William Shirer as an Astrologer.
Richard Wright as a Jigsaw Puzzle, because he saw himself as a jigsaw puzzle.
Freda Kirchway, of "The Nation," as Madame Butterfly.
John Steinbeck as a Sea Serpent. He claimed he had once seen a sea serpent.
Lillian Hellman in grays, because she saw herself as gray in spirit.
William Rose Benet as a Balearic Countryman.
Quentin Reynolds, the journalist, as a Judge.
John Dos Passos as a Sunday Painter. (He was a good amateur painter.)
Vincent Sheean as a Mandarin colonel.
Arthur Miller as Abraham Lincoln.
I found this letter by Arthur Miller in the excerpts from the biography of Quintanilla, Waiting at the Shore.
“Dear Mr. Quintanilla: the only hesitation I have about sitting for you is due to an inability to decide who or what would be a representative symbol. I have been liked to Lincoln by some, which is flattering, but a few see in my face the present Pope. I myself, of course, like to think the former. Anyway, I would be delighted to sit, having been an admirer of your work for many years. I work, usually until noon. But I wish you would phone me and we can set up the days."
I, like Arthur Miller, have an inability to decide who or what would be a representative symbol, other than just simply me as myself. That sounds hokey, but it’s all I can come up with at the moment.
If you were to have your portrait done, how would you see yourself?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Evard Munch, portraits, Quintanilla, Dorthy Parker, Arthur Miller, John Steinbeck,