Dora Maar, “Portrait of Paul Eluard”, 1933-34

Looking at this photograph we see a person who has completely given his gaze to us, the viewers, who is straightly looking into our eyes. Without having uttered a word, he is already talking to us. With his silence Eluard, as if, telling us – “I am a poet – a human being who is looking into the eyes of people when they are interested in poetry or reading or listening my poems”.

We see a person who – while looking at us keeps his hands on the open surface of the table – as if to show us his craft – writing poems. Paul Eluard is quietly alert, when he is ready to write he is listening to the silent presence of language. He is in tune with us – through his eyes, and with language – by hearing its readiness and through his hands encouraged by the bright light.

Eluard is a frank person – in his openness to us confidence and humility enrich one another – he is honest with us and honest with language. With him la parole is authentic and la Lange is organic. We, as if, see his poetic confessions – and we are prepared – we are becoming impatient to hear his poetry.

Look again at his gaze combining his mental alertness with relaxation, the two together help his talent to coin unique verbal combinations in his poems.


Dora Maar, “Portrait of Jean Cocteau”, 1936

Contrary to Paul Eluard, Jean Cocteau in Dora Maar’s photographic representation doesn’t create unconditional emotional bonds with people. He, it seems, has recently awaken after his internal journeys and his gaze is a bit over-tough, as if, protecting his inner discoveries from the factual world full of conformist fears, human prejudices, vulgarities and intolerance. Cocteau’s facial expression is of a stubborn determination – as though he is guarding what he has recently understood and needs to think through. Cocteau is not rushing to open himself up. He is not trying through Dora Maar’s photo-camera to characterize himself in any way – just his being. His all body is a little compressed, as if – hermetic, but look at his resolute gaze – he needs to win over his environment including other human beings.

His coat on the chair he is relying on is for him like an animal hide for a hunter, but the sleeves of his jacket is slightly rolled back. Cocteau doesn’t need dandyism for a psychologically defensive purposes. He is an authentic spiritual dandy. And this identity helps him to develop the perspectives and trajectories of his art. Cocteau is a knight of secularly spiritual dandyism.

If in Eluard the eyebrows follow the arch-lines of his eyes like the borderlines of his hair emphasize the noble curves of his forehead, Cocteau’s eyebrows are straight as his gaze and as his mouth, straight as a verbal arrow which he soon will send to the world to spiritually hit and seduce – with his intuition and determination – with his tireless versatile artistry.

Posted Sep, 11 ’13 – Paul Eluard’s (1895 – 1952) Poem “Honest Justice” – Humanism of Honest Justice As An Existential Position, With Man Ray’s “Portrait of Paul Eluard” by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on March, 16 ’16 –   Jean Cocteau’s “The Testament of Orpheus” (1959) – Psychological Alchemy of Poetic Creativity and Self-reflection (Phases of the Artist’s Spirituality) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on April, 13 ’16 –   “The Testament of Orpheus” by Jean Cocteau (1959) by Acting-Out Politics