Pictorial Narrators (presentation and draft)

Seeing emotions in the face (draft)

Pictures in Time (draft)



[Extract] Interview with Lucy Dahlsen

This morning, before settling in to write this nutshell, I visited a portrait. It is tucked down a quiet hallway of the National Portrait Gallery in London. And when I say I visited it, of course I mean I clicked on it, which is the only way one can visit these paintings in a pandemic lockdown. I have met with this portrait before. The face is intelligent yet surprisingly benign, not in the least smug and even somewhat self-effacing. Each time I visit it I am struck by the contrast between the Thomas Hobbes I have read and the man who is looking at me. He of the infamous anti-utopian dictum that life without law is ‘nasty brutish and short’. Yet, the person I see seems so utterly at odds with the thinker I have studied. I am drawn to return to him in his painting even though I am not drawn to return to his writing. What compels me to look and look again, is that the artist seems to have distilled some ‘essence of Hobbes’. Each time I see Hobbes the portrayed, I experience a tiny shock of recognition – of Hobbes the man. Continue Reading


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