Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Self Portrait

These are two self portraits of Pieter Brueghel the elder, but neither of them seems to coincide with the image depicted in the poem. If anyone knows where I can get the right image, let me know!

Author's note: Thank you to Juan Antonio Montiel for directing me to this portrait (read the comments for further information about this NON self portrait)

Here is the poem:

Self Portrait
by William Carlos Williams

In a red winter hat blue
eyes smiling
just the head and shoulders

crowded on the canvas
arms folded one
big ear the right showing

the face slightly tilted
a heavy wool coat
with broad buttons

gathered at the neck reveals
a bulbous nose
but the eyes red-rimmed

from over-use he must have
driven them hard
but the delicate wrists

show him to have been a
man unused to
manual labor unshaved his

blond beard half trimmed
no time for any-
thing but his painting


lynda said...

the painting williams is referring to is actually not a self portrait but a painting called 'the old shepherd'. i can't find it anywhere on the net. if you have access to jstor you can see a black and white image of the painting in an article called; the measured dance: williams' "pictures from brueghel" by joel conarroe. the fact that the painting is not a self portrait at all raises a lot of interesting questions (in my mind) as to who exactly is the subject of williams' self portrait.

Andrew said...

the painting is also discovered to not even be by Brueghel.

Incardinados said...

I'm quite sure that the portrait that Williams used for his poem was the Portrait of the Ferrara Court Jester Gonella, by Jean Fouquet. In Williams' time this picture was erroneously attributed to Brueghel. You can find the original picture here:

My name is Juan Antonio Montiel and I am the spanish translator of Pictures from Brueghel.

Tasha said...

Thank you so much for all the feedback. I hadn't set up email alerts for comments on this page, and since I hadn't added anything new in a long time, I never knew anyone was even commenting! This is really exciting for me. I'm going right now to add the portrait you directed me to, Juan Antonio.

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask Juan Antonio if he could decipher the writing on the back
of "The Sheppard" self Portrait Jean Fouquet. Like the previous post I couldn't
because of Brueghel name on back of frame. Is this wood/tempera? I would like to
post the picture and the writing on back. It states 6521/5 9 x 13 1/2. I also can
make our Brueghel.