Édouard Manet, "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe," 1862-63.
Not a simulacrum, sitting here wearing nothing except your gaze on my skin, but the X-factor in the work: it can’t be done without me. The room smells like turps, linseed oil, wooden stretcher bars, and sweat. Those single-pane windows sieve the light, let in the cold, but I don’t feel the chill. A galaxy of hot lamps circle me like little suns, put me at the center of this universe where I’m neither subject nor object, but co-author: the one not holding the brush, the one who embodies the question of what’s being, and what’s represented, in that fresh, gliding stroke.