Portraits of the Marquis de Sade
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Since it was believed up until the WWII that no real portraits of French author Marquis de Sade existed, imaginary portraits of de Sade have been made throughout history. The most important ones include Portrait fantaisiste du marquis de Sade by H. Biberstein (to the right), one by Man Ray, Portrait imaginaire de Sade, and Le marquis érotomane by Roman Cieślewicz. Others include works by Clovis Trouille, Louis Binet and Beresford Egan.
In 1885 Henry Spencer Ashbee wrote:
- "No authentic portrait of Sade, either painted or engraved, is known ; those lately issued in Brussels—the one, very badly engraved, in an oval frame, said to be " De la collection de M. De la Porte," the second fairly engraved, representing the Marquis surrounded by demons who are blowing into his ears, signed H. Biberstein, sc, and subscribed, " De la collection de Mr. H*** de Paris —are pure inventions." --Catena Librorum Tacendorum
In the document, Citoyen Sade au Comité de sureté générale, the first and many believe, the only notes on the physical appearance of Marquis de Sade are given. At the age of 53, he was:
- "height of five feet and two inches, blond hair and gray eyebrows, high forehead, going bald, light blue eyes, medium nose, small mouth, round chin, full, oval face".