The Portrait

  • Denis Diderot
  • Jean S. D. Glaus


I was leaving the Salon, I was tired. I went to see La Tour, this special individual who began to learn Latin at fifty-five, and who abandoned the art in which he excelled to plumb the depths of metaphysics which ended in disturbing his mind. I found him paying tribute to Restout’s memory; he was painting a portrait from one he had painted and which he was not satisfied. “Oh! What an interesting game I am playing! He told me. I can only be a winner. If I succeed, I will have the praise of a good artist; if I fail, there will remain that of a good friend”. He admitted to me that he owed a great deal to Restout’s advice, the only man with the same talent as himself who really appeared to communicate; that it was a painter who had taught him to turn a head and to circulate the air between the figure and the background by reflecting the lit side in the background and the side on the darkened side”; that either because it was Restout’s fault or either his own he had all the trouble in the world to understand how the principle worked, despite his uncomplicated ­character; for when the reflection is too strong or too weak you are not allowing nature, you are painting; that you are either weak or strong and that you are no longer truthful nor in harmony…


Original Principle Good Artist Painter Portraitist Interesting Game Flesh Tone 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis Diderot
  • Jean S. D. Glaus
    • 1
  1. 1.Ombudsman of the Euler SocietyWashingtonUSA

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