Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This past week a story went viral online about a young man who found his doppelgänger in a portrait by an unknown 16th-century Italian artist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A doppelgänger (from the German meaning "double goer") is a ghostly double--not a spirit, but an actual person. The resemblance between him and the portrait is rather uncanny. Notice how people in the article speculate that he might have to lose the tie-dye shirt and wear a bigger codpiece though? But, like others, the story made me wonder if anyone else had ever seen their doppelgänger in art.

When I was younger, I thought I bore a striking resemblance to the messenger god Mercury in Botticelli's Primavera (Spring), ca. 1478, from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. You see a detail of Mercury here, but click here for the full picture. It's perhaps not a coincidence that this painting also just happens to be my all-time favorite in the history of art. Of course, the resemblance was perhaps much more true some twenty years ago when I was younger and had a mane of curly hair. Back then, people also used to think I looked like actor Kirk Cameron or singer/songwriter Richard Marx. But the weirdest thing lately is having heard a few people say I look like Derek Jeter! Doppelgänger to a baseball player? Hm...I think I'd rather look like someone in a Renaissance painting.

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