Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sicilian Dream

"Dear Wilhelm,

As a man loving to dream, I am convinced of something: a collector does not choose the photograph, it is the photograph that chooses the collector. When this sublime portrait was offered to my eyes, I instantly knew that I would never be tired to listen to the silent poetry of this albuminate print of one of your masterworks. And I consider as an immense privilege to have been chosen, among all the lovers of your art, to be the first to accept the invitation of this so beautiful face.

Everything is singing to my eyes in this face: the laurels crown, the serenity of the expression, the gaze flying outside the frame of the photograph. This gaze seems so focussed, on looking inside a soul, on expressing the power of human will on life and fate.

Who are you, so beautiful young man ? Why did you receive this laurels crown, is it just for the classical beauty of your perfect face ? Are you an athlete who won a race or a fight at the games of Olympia or Delphi ? Obviously, you seem to have the stature, the strength, the sculptural perfection of a Greek athlete. But I would rather imagine you are a poet inspired by the Muses, still listening to their invisible voices while you just received a crown for your song. Would you be Pindar, singing the winners at the stadium games and sharing their crowns ? Or Sophocles, celebrated by the Athenians for your Oedipus Rex or your Antigone, when these tragedies where played in the Dionysos theater, close to the Acropolis walls ? You could be too Gorgias the Sophist, born in Sicilia, who taught the art of speech and reasoning to the Athenian youth and was lucky enough to meet Socrates himself in a Plato's dialogue ?

I could still imagine you as a king of Pergamon or of Seleucia, as the Philadelphos king of Alexandria who married his sister and cared to much about scholarship and arts and was so concerned with the gathering of books and erudite men....

Perhaps sometimes in the future, beautiful young man crowned with laurels, you will tell me who you are...

Beyond the beauty of faces and bodies, dear Wilhelm, your photographs invite souls to be in communion.


Von Gloeden Archive, Letter from Philip X to W. von Gloeden, 15.01.1891, call number: 1891/01/15/25.

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