|I wrote, "The eyes are AR's eyes, of course: the face is hers (the body is Pillar's, Capuletti's then wife)."|
Adam asks: "Are you sure? If you have inside info, I'd love to know more..."
It doesn't actually need inside info, just seeing the painting -- by which I mean "in the flesh," as it were, the painting itself -- and having seen Ayn Rand's eyes numerous times. "Everyone" -- that is, everyone I spoke to at the time about it -- noticed. The outline of the face is "idealized," made more regular and considerably younger than Rand was then. The image borrows from the Ilonya portrait of Rand. The focus of the eyes in that portrait is looking somewhere into the distance, as if toward an elevated plane of perception, not at the person standing in front of the image. The eyes in the Capuletti painting are done that same way.
An interesting thing about his paintings -- I believe this was checked out and documented when there was quite a bit of talk about "Desnudo," as the painting is named, having AR's face -- is that he almost never painted his female figures full face until after he'd met AR; and then he used her face -- idealized -- in several paintings.
A little story about that painting. I was overwhelmed by it from the minute I walked into the gallery, and, as I've said, kept going back to it. There was this man standing there examining the painting one of the times when I returned to look at it. I didn't like the way he was looking at the painting. Hammer came over -- the guy was a rich collector and told Hammer that he especially collected nudes. There was somethin "interesting" (he drawled the word) about the skin effect, and he was thinking of making an offer. To my relief, Hammer said that the painting was sold.
So when the guy left, I followed Hammer, sort of bubbling with glee, since I suspected... I told him that I'd love to know who bought the painting. For a few instants he was stern -- "I can't reveal that information," he said. But I guess something in the way I asked, and my expression, whatever, got past his professional reserve. So he said, "Well, I'll tell you. Ayn Rand bought the painting." (Oh, goodie; yippie.)
Thing is... Capuletti admired her writing, best as he could read it -- he wasn't at all fluent in English. And I'm sure he was more than savy enough to realize, after that article she wrote about his work, that there was a market to be had amongst her followers. He painted a number of paintings which were guaranteed hits, shall we say, with Objectivists (the "Not Guilty" one, e.g.). I think that, as well as making a tribute to her, he knew she'd be flattered by that nude and would want to buy it. The pose is just so thoroughly an image in keeping with the style of Rand's depictions of the sexual psychology of her heroines.