Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In Propria Persona

Upon revisiting my sister's Flickr account, I find that she has photographed and uploaded a portrait of Moses Mendelssohn — who, as previously mentioned, was an inspiration for Nathan der Weise — that hangs in our living room. I like this portrait because it is more open and human than others, and in it the philosopher also bears a great resemblance to my grandfather (and, to a lesser degree, his descendant Felix). It is hard to read facial expressions in pictures, as they do seem to subtly change depending on one's frame of mind. At present I find that his gaze is quite direct and engaging, if reserved, and that he has a genial quirk about the mouth. The ascetic lines of his cheek and temple are in abeyance, and yet his sternness remains. So . . . who knows whether this helps bring to life the character in the play, but as my treatment of that work is so unwontedly expansive in any case, this portrait will hopefully round it out.

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