“Behind the Curtains: A Portrait of Maria” by André Romijn is a captivating pencil study that embodies the aspirations and introspective nature of a young woman on the cusp of an acting career. This artwork goes beyond mere portraiture; it is a narrative piece that invites viewers into the private world of an actress in waiting.

Technique and Expression: Romijn’s skilful use of pencil in this study achieves a striking level of detail and texture, which breathes life into Maria’s features. The dual perspective of her face—viewing her from both front and side—enhances the depth of the portrait and symbolizes the multifaceted nature of an actress: the visible persona and the private individual. The artist’s fine, controlled strokes capture the softness of Maria’s skin and the intensity of her gaze, which seems to look beyond the paper, focusing on a distant, unseen stage.

Symbolic Elements: The title “Behind the Curtains” suggests a moment of quiet anticipation, a theme that resonates deeply in the composition and expression of the portrait. Maria is depicted in a moment of contemplation or mental preparation, evocative of an actress behind the scenes, mentally rehearsing her lines before stepping into the light. The subtlety in her expression—serene yet charged with potential—mirrors the reality of any performer who navigates the private moments of doubt and determination that precede public exposure.

Emotional Resonance: Romijn masterfully conveys a sense of vulnerability and strength in Maria’s expression. There is a palpable tension between her youthful hopefulness and the seriousness of her ambitions. This emotional duality engages the viewer, prompting a reflection on the dreams we chase and the moments of quiet resolve that fuel those pursuits.

Overall Impact: “Behind the Curtains: A Portrait of Maria” is not just a demonstration of technical prowess; it is a profound glimpse into the inner life of a young actress. Romijn has created a work that is both a visual delight and a deep psychological exploration. It invites the audience to consider the unseen trials and quiet moments of preparation that define the performing arts, making the portrait a compelling piece that resonates with anyone who understands or aspires to the art of performance.

This artwork stands out as a testament to the promise and challenges of the artistic journey, capturing the essence of a young woman who is poised to embrace the world of acting, with all its lights and shadows.

HB pencil on paper, 29.5 x 40 cm