Celebrating Quiet Heroism

Imagine your life is one in which you can be decently rewarded for being creative, for turning your inner life into money. That’s what he did - and the idea has spread across the whole of society.

But there aren’t many opportunities to do this in the world. A handful of notable artists (along with fashion models and rock stars) have glamourised a particular kind of career - in which one is paid well for essentially being oneself. This is extremely appealing, yet few people can access it. The painting should come with a warning: ‘You won’t be like me’.

We owe ourselves a certain amount of sympathy, just for being caught in a dilemma not of our own making. We need portraits of accountants, tram-drivers and IT managers to bring out the quiet heroism of just getting by.

Wouter van Troostwijk

Self Portrait, c 1805


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