‘The Maybe Man’ is a copy of van Dyck’s, Studies of a Man’s Head, a work that hangs in the Rockox House Museum, Antwerp. I’ve never seen the original. I made this copy from photographs. Who is the model? Was he a real person, a real someone who lived and breathed? Or was he just a figment - a pigment figment - of the great artist’s imagination? Perhaps some scholar, some art historian, could share her scholarship and tell us. Perhaps if I drilled down far enough, through endless webs, I could un-Google the truth. I won’t bother. That’s not the point. Why is the poor soul lost in contemplation, his whole demeanour ‘a lavender spray of wistful regret’? Maybe he had recently been touched by a moment of magic, a noonday that blazed into a Brigadoon day? And now the moment has passed. We’ll never know. Only the great Sir Anthony van Dyck, painter of the masterwork on which this humble, humbling, copy is based, could tell us. I did at one stage price this at £1641, just to remind me that was the year van Dyck died. Then I thought, bugger it, it’s worth more than that.

‘The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.’ Friedrich Nietzsche


        After Sir Anthony van Dyck, Studies of a Man’s Head

20” x 15” (51 x 38 cm)

Acrylic on gessoed panel