Descripción de editorial
Pater published four new imaginary portraits in Macmillan's Magazine, each set at a turning-point in the history of ideas or art, and each a study of misfits, men born out of their time, who bring disaster upon themselves – 'A Prince of Court Painters' (1885) (on Watteau and Jean-Baptiste Pater), 'Sebastian van Storck' (1886) (17th-century Dutch society and painting, and the philosophy of Spinoza), 'Denys L'Auxerrois' (1886) (Dionysus and the medieval cathedral-builders), and 'Duke Carl of Rosenmold' (1887) (the German Renaissance). These were collected in the volume Imaginary Portraits (1887). Here Pater's examination of the tensions between tradition and innovation, intellect and sensation, asceticism and aestheticism, social mores and amorality, becomes increasingly complex. Implied warnings against the pursuit of extremes in matters intellectual, aesthetic or sensual are unmistakable. The second portrait, 'Sebastian van Storck', a powerful critique of philosophical solipsism, is perhaps Pater's most striking work of fiction.