Thomas Paine as a young man

Mainstream, run-of-the-mill, or even rush-hour, we people get honestly to reflect on what we see, time and again. Preparing a book series, I arrived at reviewing images of Thomas Paine. Spontaneous, simply as pictures, regardless of the who, how could I describe one?

Skin complexion: yellow clay facials? — the right eye: fry an egg, tilt the pan? — hairdo: the Polish plait? ■The plaits were a Medieval and disgusting habit, and I hate fried foods generally, so it could be only cosmetic yellow clay to try for anything good on the face, well, not necessarily in public, should I be to recommend.

Let us begin with Auguste Millière, the painter. The British ■National Portrait Gallery associates him with one portraiture only, that of Thomas Paine. ■Wikimedia do not have more. This is not much to do, for a career. Maybe Millière didn’t have a painter mindset, and daily experience nursed his brush? ■Eyes and yolks figure a lot over the Internet today as well.

There is yet an interesting coincidence. In 1706 a book was printed for “T. Horne, at the South Entrance into the Royal Exchange”. The title says, ■The Morals of Confucius, a Chinese Philosopher. As a source, the book looks very unreliable. It advises a prince not to desire anything that another man might wish. It also says,
Heaven speaks, but what language does it use, to preach to men? That there is a sovereign principle from whence all things depend; a sovereign principle which makes them to act and move, its motion is its language, it reduces the seasons to their time; it agitates Nature, it makes it produce: this silence is eloquent (PDF page 158).

To compare Thomas Paine in his Age of Reason, “The Creation speaks a universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they be. It is an ever-existing original, which every man can read” — the yellow tint might be symbolic for the Chinese Yellow River.

Another interesting coincidence would come with Isaiah, quoted in Thomas Paine for his critique of the Bible, where he says poets are mixed for prophets. Says he,
The instance, I shall produce is from Isaiah:
“Hear, ye heavens, and give ear, O earth
‘Tis God himself that calls attention forth.”

Thomas Paine adds, his another instance is from the mournful Jeremiah, for the purpose of showing the intention of a poet, not prophet.
“O, that mine head were waters and mine eyes
Were fountains flowing like the liquid skies;
Then would I give the mighty flood release
And weep a deluge for the human race” (Conway edition ■Chapter VII).

International Standard Version Isaiah says, 59:5, They hatch adders’ eggs and weave a spider’s web; whoever eats their eggs dies, and any crushed egg hatches out futility

The frying pan would have come in response to Paine’s talk on the Universe:
Those who supposed that the Sun went round the Earth every twenty-four hours, made the same mistake in idea, that a cook would do in fact, that should make the fire go round the meat, instead of the meat turning round itself towards the fire (Conway edition ■Chapter XIV).

So much for coincidence: it fits well with ■satire, the same as “Thomas Paine the mechanic” (painting 1 below); the kind of “square in the box” Thomas Paine, shape of the forehead in painting 2; well, the “nosey” Thomas Paine (painting 3); or, plainly “BBC Thomas Paine”, right next here.

BBC Thomas Paine

Matters yet might have been not as innocent as just a humored approach. Paine became unpopular after the Age of Reason. Milliere (painting 1) never saw him, reportedly patterned after Romney and Sharp; the former was inclined towards imagination, as his ■Infant Shakespeare proves, and the latter had a ■strong bend for prophets, contrary to Paine.

The doubt is the strongest with the works. Of ■all engravings by Sharp, none would hold an eye as in a pocket, or grow hair from the ■temple area of the cranium, except the one of Thomas Paine. “My own mind is my own church”, wrote Paine (Conway edition ■Chapter 1). The reader probably never looked up the Greek: human heads are not buildings, and Thomas Paine obviously knew it.

I’ve always wanted to be a good linguist, so I looked the Greek up for my import into Polish, ■Wiek rozumu: My own mind is my vital capacity to care for my faith | Mój własny umysł to ma żywotna zdatność by pielęgnować swą wiarę, Greek kurie, Perseus ■kuria: a strong association for the Polish ■witalność is the Polish kuraż as assisted with herbs and vitamins, and no alcohol (a common conjecture after the ■Great Schism).

What Thomas Paine really said, he didn’t need anyone telling him what to believe, or controlling his faith, or even trying to — lord his thought. Could this be laughable?

To continue with the doubt to have come with the works: ■Romney evidently ideated complexion: the smooth skin in field conditions could advertise cosmetics — by ■general Archibald Campbell. Romney excepted Thomas Paine from good complexion.

Dabos (painting 2) is dated for 1792, as a picture “for the purpose of engraving”, yet it “grants” Paine quite a few skin and other defects — of little use in engraving simply as work. We may compare the non-complimentary redundancy in the ■Franklin by ■Britannica. It is possible that egg white was used to make portraits: you made pulp, put it on the very face — or someone in your opinion similar, as evident in ■the Franklin to hold Alexander’s will — then you drew and painted from a thin layer. The Britannica Franklin shows lines like there was ■a layer put on.

Painting 3: Jarvis was of course aware of own exaggeration on the nose and the ■rouge: maybe he was into comment on Paine’s single status, where Dabos would have been suggestive of a non-marital activity you could have also when married and home. Jarvis painted after the Age of Reason. No other portrait he made would have the person looking up to the painter. It is natural to doubt if Thomas Paine ever cared to do that — keep his eyes raised for a time it usually takes to make a portrait.

He was a thinker and he had his conclusions: “I trouble not myself about the manner of future existence. I content myself with believing, even to positive conviction, that the power that gave me existence is able to continue it, in any form and manner he pleases, either with or without this body; and it appears more probable to me that I shall continue to exist hereafter than that I should have had existence, as I now have, before that existence began”, said Thomas Paine in his Age of Reason.

Vainglory waste of time was sure not worth much to Thomas Paine in Polish as well: honestly, if you don’t allow for the possibility you could live after Earth, you’re sort of dayfly in own mind. Nie martwię się o sposób przyszły istnienia. Zadowalam się wiarą, a nawet przekonaniem, iż zdolność która mi istnienie dała, jest je w stanie kontynuować, w formie i na sposób przez siebie wybrany, z cielesną powłoką jak ta, bądź i bez niej; a na bardziej prawdopodobne mi wygląda iż moje istnienie będzie trwać po mej śmierci, niż pogląd jakobym miał egzystencję taką jak teraz, zanim się moje istnienie zaczęło; Wiek rozumu.

Dabos shows for the only one with an overall idea on condemnation: he spares ■Bonaparte and ■Belloy, “granting” his marks to ■Mirabeau and ■Porta alike. This does not make his works trustworthy.

What might Thomas Paine have looked like?

When there is no reliable image, people try to imagine the looks. ■Raphael did so with regard to Aristotle and Plato. He never saw either of the men.

There must have been a time when Thomas Paine was young

Satire happens to capture some characteristics; I also had the ■death mask to compare. With Millière mostly, I produced the image below. Layer-on-layer, the shape of the face shows preserved: ■Millière and the ■death mask, at the links.

Thomas Paine was aide-de-camp to general Nathanael Greene. In Paris, he served Congressional foreign affairs. I imagined him… maybe not a ■pompadour dandy (who would epilate his eyebrows), but a neat man.

Thomas Paine as a young man, click to enlarge.