I saw this painted portrait of a stern looking Chinese man. Looked at the information plate and read the top two lines.
Walked on to other paintings at the exhibition at the Singapore National Gallery. Didn’t give it a second thought until my friend asked me to keep looking at the painting while walking past it.
Stood in front of the painting. Stood on tiptoe, then lowered my body while keeping my eyes on the portrait.
Yeah, man, freaky!!!
It seemed like from whichever point I was looking at the painting the eyes of the unknown person was looking back and followed me as I moved. Just take a look at the video below. My friend said she would not have this painting in her house. I have to confess that a story line for a ghost story came to mind when she said this.
This video is not as clear in the beginning but watch the latter part starting at 0:10 :-
Today I googled and found that the painter was a Russian name Anatole Shister. The brief info I found on him states :-
Shister, a naturalised British subject was of Russia origins who trained in the Russian Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. In Malaya he gained a reputation for painting portraits of illustrious people. From newspaper accounts we know that this painting was bought by the Islamic community for presentation to the Municipal commissioners.
Its too bad there is no info on the person in the portrait. Whoever he was the artist Shister has masterfully captured the spirit in his eyes. This type of look reminds me of the look that high level masters of the martial arts would have. This is the first time I have seen it captured so well despite this being a painting.
In Tai Chi we have a training method that cultivates this type of look at the O6R level. It is part of the training for the cultivation of Shen, Yi, Qi. By training the intention (Yi) we can train the spirit (Shen) and develop a look that seems to see right through a person. This is consistent with the training of Sung, San, Tong, Kong which is another part of our journey to Master Tai Chi Today.