Philosophical Portraiture: Listening Intently and Considering Closely

In Aleksandra’s most recently completed portrait, the subject is in the midst of a philosophical conversation. In the figure on the left, we see a man listening intently. He is either ready to hear another speak or, more likely, is in the middle of hearing someone make a claim. He is listening–but in what manner? Intently, unwaveringly, undistractedly, single-mindedly. ‘Intently’ is meant to capture something of what it is like for him to have these words be ‘his entire world.’


In the figure on the right (whose head is bowed slightly), we observe him taking this claim in. The claim does not tarry in the air; he does not let it simply pass (or give it a simple pass). It is scrutinized–but, again, how? Closely, with ultimate carefulness. The claim he takes care of, even if the person is not spared this intense examination. As we look on, we note that what is yet unclear is what the statement means or whether it will require modifications, assent, or ultimate rejection. This moment of suspense–a claim suspended, a response suspended–the dramatic element of philosophizing is in evidence.

The artist, I suspect, was also looking intently and considering matters closely as she worked on this portrait. (Well, I know this: I could see her in the other room working day after day.) Hence, the artist exhibits certain virtues while she works, and the work is to be evocative of a life lived according to the beautiful virtues.