Recognition

Have you ever had that moment of deja vu when you recognize someone you’ve never met before? I had it last night, when browsing around in a collection of drawings by my favorite Belle Epoque artist, Alphonse Mucha. There, on Plate 18 of the Documents Decoratifs of 1902, were Maggie and Lizzie! (See left, bottom left, above the hand drawings.)

These girls, whoever they might have been, look almost exactly the way I imagined the Mopsies might when they were cleaned up and dressed in their new white dresses and satin sashes. Maggie is on the left, her face a little softer and more innocent than that of her sister Lizzie  on the right. Lizzie is more cynical, being the older by ten minutes, and views life with suspicion until it proves itself to her. Lizzie doesn’t trust as easily as Maggie—maybe because her instincts for people aren’t as honed and sensitive as Maggie’s. But when Lizzie gives her loyalty, it’s forever, and woe betide anyone who tries to harm someone she loves!

Have you ever happened on an image and recognized it as the person in your head? Maybe it’s a case of having seen the image before somewhere—though I never saw this one until last night. Or maybe the collective unconscious is real …

1 thought on “Recognition”

  1. Rachel RatliffRachel Ratliff

    Definitely. I would say most often I see a picture and think, that’s straight out of a particular book. The one that comes to mind is the painting Billy Boys by Jack Vettriano, and I automatically associate it with The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen. It just looks like Jason and Whit Fireson on the run with their gang. Why else would anyone be trying to stroll up the beach so casually in their good suits?

    It’s like all of a sudden being able to put a face with a name.

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