El retrato / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Portrait

I was tracing the figure of the decorative and fabulous animals on the wall, inspiring myself with a book of chivalry and the prints of a samurai artist.
     A folding screen, from the Far East, displayed the image of the crane poised on the turtle.
     The folding screen and a bunch of blue flowers had been given to me in the house of the courtesans, plush with lacquer furniture. My favorite girl would hang affectionately from my arm, telling me endearing words in her impassable language. She had painted herself, with a tiny pencil, some long thin eyebrows, which highlighted the snow-like smoothness of her epidermis. At that moment she showed me a stiletto hidden in her hair and destined for her voluntary death on the eve of old age. Her companions were reposing on some tapestries and would alternate advice and predictions with each other, calling themselves captives of fatality. They smoked in silver and porcelain pipes or plucked the lute with an indifferent gesture.
     I continue to paint the mythological beasts and suddenly begin to draw the features of a weeping mask. The physiognomy of the unforgettable courtesan, such as it must have been on the day of her sacrifice, gradually appears thanks to my involuntary pencil.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }

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