Monday, June 4, 2012

Doppelgangers in Paint

Hercule Poirot?
No, it's a portrait of the painter Toulouse Lautrec by Giovanni Boldini. Source

And now for something a little different.

I was looking at a certain painting the other day and remarking to myself how much the portrait's sitter reminded me of a certain fictional detective. (see above) Then, as these sorts of things usually do, I happened upon another painting which reminded me of yet another fictional detective. That's when the light bulb flashed over my head.

Why not see how many fictional detectives I can cast from portraits? Just for fun, I mean. The history of art is an enormous department of central casting. At some point it might be fun to cast a whole movie or a whole book from paintings.

Sherlock Holmes?
No, it's a self-portrait by Australian Hugh Ramsey. Source

Is this Nero Wolfe disguised in a red suit and mustache?
No, it's a self-portrait of the Norwegian painter Anders Zorn. Source

  Is this Archie Goodwin?
No, it's a vintage illustration for a hat advertisement.

Is this Henri Bencolin, John Dickson Carr's French detective?
No, it's a portrait of Mikhail Kuzmin by Konstantin Somov. Source

Is this Lord Peter Whimsey?
No, it's a portrait of Louis Betts by William Merritt Chase. Source

Is this Miss Marple?
No, it is a portrait of Madame Rysselberghe by Theo van Rysselberghe.

Is this George Simenon's French Inspector Maigret?
No, it's a self-portrait of Spanish painter Luis Felipe Usabal. Source.

Is this James Bond?
No, it's a Portrait Du Marquis by Tamara De Lempicka. 

Is this Miss Amelia Peabody aka Mrs. Radcliffe Emerson?
No it's a portrait by Sarah Stillwell. Source

Is this Alan Bradley's 11 year old detective, Miss Flavia DeLuce?
No, it's a portrait of his daughter Mary by George Spencer Watson.

Is this John Dickson Carr's Sir Henry Merrivale?
No, it's a self-portrait of artist Henry Marvell Carr. Source

Is this Jack Reacher in a 1919 swimsuit?
No it's cover art by J.C. Leyendecker.


  1. Ha! What a great idea. The similarities to the fictional detectives are uncanny.

    I love the "Inspector Maigret."

  2. Hi Yvette - it's good to be back at your lovely site again. What a clever idea for a post -- the pictures you chose are perfect!

  3. Kathy and BeckY: I seem to have pressed the wrong button and posted this before I was ready. But no harm done. I adjusted everything. Glad you like it ladies.

    Yeah, that Maigret one spoke to me.

  4. Loved this. Now I just need to go find a painting that reminds me of Nick & Nora Charles, without it looking like William Powell & Myrna Loy.

    I think I need to see if I can find a Miss Pinkerton and Maisie Dobbs too.

  5. What and interesting idea. I know that you didn't do this post quickly, you must have been working away at it for ages to find an image to fit each detective.
    What I particularly like is the way you have introduced us to so many fictional characters, along with so many interesting portraits - I love the painting of Toulouse Lautrec, it is just how I picture him. The imposing self-portrait of Anders Zorn, and the reflective look of Mikhail Kuzmin. Great combination of literature/art.

  6. This post was so much fun! I agreed with all your characters.

  7. Ryan, I looked and looked for a painting that reminded me of Nick and Nora. So far, haven't had any success. I'm gonna' keep looking, though. :)

  8. Thanks, Rosemary. I did work on it for awhile, but it was a lot of fun. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    I'm still looking for a Nancy Drew and a Nick and Nora Charles. :)

  9. Hilarious, Yvette. Of course, the French painter in the first one was also a detective - he solved the mysterious cause of a French train wreck: (too loose la track...)

    (Okay, okay, I'm leaving...ow, that hurt...)

  10. That hurt me too, Les. Ha! You are simply awful. :)

    Did you note the Henry Merrivale? The artist (by coincidence) had a very similar name.

  11. Wow. "H. M. Carr," eh? All my detecting instincts are kicking in... ;-)

  12. Maybe a relation? Or maybe that's where John Dickson Carr got his detectives name from? Mixing up a few letters, etc. Anything's possible.
    But I said to myself, now THAT'S a coincidence. :)

  13. I agree with the others, Yvette. This is, indeed, a marvellous idea for a post. Why didn't I think of it?!

  14. Thanks, Prashant. I was a little leery of posting it thinking maybe it was too foolish. But I did it anyway and it worked. :)

  15. Yvette, I've been meaning to tell you how much I enjoyed your "Doppelgangers in Paint" post, but I've been so insanely busy I'm tempted to spend a day or two in bed -- not from illness, but just to huddle under the covers! :-) But now I'm back to say I loved this inspired post! You really chose absolutely dead-on lookalikes for the authors/characters for the paintings you chose. You really had me smiling, especially with the portrait of Madame Rysselberghe by Theo van Rysselberghe, looking remarkably Miss Marple-like. In fact, I remember that portrait from one of your painting series a while back; was that how you got the idea for this post, you clever gal? :-) Great job, my friend!

  16. Thanks, Dorian. Yes, the little germ of an idea came into being because of that portrait. It's funny how the mind works. :)

    I'm happy it worked for you. It was kind of an outlandish idea....

    I'm still looking for a Nancy Drew, A Nick and Nora Charles and A Spenser look-a-like.


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