When I saw Oskar Zwintscher’s painting “Spiegelbild” for the first time, I was completely hooked. This was it. The cover for my debut novel “Within Paravent Walls”.
The tense facial features of the portrayed woman, her disruptive profile, and then her penetrating gaze through her mirror image piercing straight into the viewer’s eyes and imagination; those were the elements that linked this portrait to the twists and turns of womanhood within my novel. This looking away and yet still daring to include an object to face situations for her, to expose herself, to show herself.
She is seen through the mirror, mostly, the viewer’s attention is clearly directed beyond the glacial surface of her face captured within an object. And yet she is there, in flesh and blood, turning away, but remaining still, silent, imposing her fierce blue eyes.
Her hand tightly grasping the ambiguous object, her finger revealing a ring, marriage, a plot, she is contemplating and involving the viewer in her almost teary eyes.
I saw in her a genuine vulnerability, a woman who wants out, who keeps herself composed and intact, who suffers greatly, oftentimes at her own hand and mind, but I also witnessed an incorruptible determination to survive and to claim everything that she deems hers. Observing paintings, we project. I projected the inner mechanisms of my protagonist, Estefania von Zweighaupt, onto her face and her magnetic gaze, that seems both threatening and imploring, maybe directed inwardly and the spectator is just a voyeur.
I drifted off and off into a world that I created and that Zwintscher called forth and I was moved. I found her. This piece of art that portrays so many stories and grabs you.
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“Spiegelbild” by Oskar Zwintscher (1870-1916)