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Yeats: The Family Collection

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Antonio Mancini
1852-1930
PORTRAIT OF W.B. YEATS
signed, dated and inscribed l.l.: October 1907/ Á Maitre / Yeats/ Dublin/ AMancini; inscribed on the backboard: W B YEATS/ 82 MERRION SQUARE
coloured chalks on paper
58.5 by 45.5cm., 23 by 18in.
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相關資料

Antonio Mancini painted Lady Gregory’s portrait, now in Dublin’s Municipal Gallery, as one of a number commissioned by Sir Hugh Lane for a trip Mancini made to Dublin in the autumn of 1906. According to Yeats’s The Municipal Gallery Revisited, J. M. Synge thought it the ‘greatest [portrait] since Rembrandt’ (Variorum Poems, p.602).  He did this portrait drawing of Yeats on 6 October 1906, and Yeats had enough enthusiasm for it to use a monochrome image of the portrait by Emery Walker for the frontispiece of the fifth volume of his Shakespeare Head Press The Collected Works in Verse and Prose (1908).  WBY wrote in that volume in one of John Quinn’s sets: ‘if I only looked like the Manchini [sic] portrait I should have defeated all my enemies here in Dublin.  Manchini did it in an hour or so working at the last with great vehemence and constant cries, “Cristo, O”, and so on’ (Allan Wade, Bibliography, 87: see also Collected Letters of WBY IV. 737-38).

Lady Gregory records Yeats’s account of the sitting in her Sir Hugh Lane: His Life and Legacy (79-80): ‘The pastel, which I still have, was an evening’s work. Mancini put his usual grill of threads where the picture was to be and another grill of threads corresponding exactly with it in front of me. He did not know anything about me, we had no language in common, and he worked for an hour without interest or inspiration. Then I remembered a story of Lane’s. Mancini, Italian peasant as he was, believed that he would catch any illness or deformity of those whom he met., He was not thinking of microbes, but of some mysterious process like that of the Evil Eye.  He had just been painting someone who had lost a leg, and whose cork leg he believed was having a numbing effect on his own. He worried Lane with his terror—‘My leg is losing all power of sensation,’ he would say at intervals. The thought of this story made me burst into laughter and Mancini began to draw with great excitement and rapidity’.

Yeats: The Family Collection

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