Seated in a director’s chair, ¾ view, hands relaxed and legs crossed, he turns to face the camera. Though he’s at home wearing a robe and slippers this is anything but a spontaneous snapshot.
The room provides a stylish backdrop. Nothing here is unconsidered. Books artfully but casually arranged on the shelves, a bronze horse, an elegant urn. Even the objects on the marble topped table are carefully placed: the little potted palm, the candle holder and a bowl.
Of course it’s the robe that stands out. Dark leaves cascade from shoulders and torso, offering a glimpse of thigh as they descend towards his ankle. A long black sash creates an inky puddle on the floor. His bare foot is capped with a chic open-toed slipper.
His expression: Self-assured, skeptical, a bit weary. Is there a hint of seduction, a come-hither invitation? If only we knew who was behind the camera.
He reminds me of Velasquez’s Pope Innocent X. I suspect there was nothing innocent about either of them.
Vintage black and white photo 4” x 5 ½"
Embossed border with deckled edge.
Undated c. 1960.
Pope Innocent X, oil on canvas portrait by Diego Velázquez, executed around 1650. Many artists and art critics consider it the finest portrait ever created. Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome.