"The Visionary Academy of Ocular Mentality" (brilliant title suggested to me by the great philosopher Arthur C. Danto) is a pictorial iconography of contemporary philosophy, literature, poetry, antropology, a "collective" project of oil portraits in a "Socratic" dialogue between a painter and language / writing / theory. There are not only academic philosophers who teach in philosophy departments of universities, but also "philosophers" not in the conventional sense, personalities that are not easily classified or, apparently, are not associated with philosophy.
I ask each of them a photo that is the truer, less conventional and obvious that better reflects their character. The project ends with the publication of a book with short essays and comments that I have collected. In this series there are also some philosophers or writers died a few years ago who have had a huge influence and importance in my research, so I put them in it ."
"The portrait is only an intensified form of the general nature of a picture. Every picture is an increase of being and is essentially determined as representation, as coming-to- presentation. In the special case of the portrait this representation acquires a personal significance, in that here an individual is presented in a representative way. For thismeans that the man represented represents himself in his portrait and is represented by his portrait. The picture is not only a picture and certainly not only a copy, it belongs to the present or to the present memory of the man represented. This is its real nature. To this extent the portrait is a special case of the general ontological value assigned to the picture as such. What comes into being in it is not already contained in what his acquaintancessee in the sitter. The best judges of a portrait are never the nearest relatives nor even the sitter himself. For a portrait never tries to reproduce the individual it represents as heappears in the eyes of the people near him. Of necessity, what it shows is an idealization,which can run through an infinite number of stages from the representative to the mostintimate. This kind of idealization does not alter the fact that in a portrait an individual isrepresented, and not a type, however much the portrayed individual may be transformedin the portrait from the incidental and the private into the essential quality of his true appearance."
(Hans-Georg Gadamer: "Truth and Method")