Jane Blanchard


Why did a man, unhandsome, often turn

to painting from a mirror? Was he vain,

or not, to focus on someone so plain?

What made an eager spender choose to spurn

a model’s fee? Did earnest students learn

more easily to copy the mundane?

Were good commissions hard enough to gain

that money was a matter of concern?

Could he have known that these original

self-portraits would be counted treasures all

in due time? What a record of resilience—

such talent, soon of age, then elderly—

each face illuminated with a brilliance

against the shadows of obscurity.

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