The man looks out of the painting, his head tilted slightly backwards and right, as if to present his full lips for a kiss. Five o'clock shadow that brushes a strong jaw-line plunges dramatically to the base of the throat, ending in a bruise-like patch, black and red. Very dark eyes, the right a black oval lightened only with a single stroke of white. Thick black hair reaches down to the back of his neck.
It is the skin--painted mainly in white and pink, with uneven strokes to suggest light and shadow, as well as the natural roughness of skin--that convinces me that a painting is superior to a sculpture. I know that this is a silly thing to say, in a way. But this painting gives what no sculpture could give: a living, breathing kouros, who has just, only just, left his youth behind.
The painter is Michail Tsakountakis. He said he grew up in Greece, trained in London, and now works in New York City. When I met him this evening, he had another beautiful young man with him, a Latino, who will be modeling for him.