“I tell you, my children, that that is not me! In one day, I had a hundred different physiognomies, according to whatever it was that affected me. I was serene, sad, dreamy, tender, violent, impassioned or enthusiastic; but I was never the way you see me there. I had a broad forehead, piercing eyes, rather large features and a head just like a Roman orator. I looked good-humoured almost to the point of foolishness, like a country bumpkin of antiquity […] I have a mask that fools the artist, either because there are too many things all in one, or because my soul responds so swiftly to successive impressions, which then appear in my face, that the painter’s eye sees me differently from one moment to the next and his task is made far more difficult than he thought.”
Diderot’s reaction to his portrait – Diderot, my idol and my master: I can find no better way to describe him.