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Individuals and Their Masks

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Author(s): Belén Altuna

Journal: Ideas y Valores : Revista Colombiana de Filosofía
ISSN 0120-0062

Volume: 58;
Issue: 140;
Start page: 33;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: face | mask | person | individualism | portrait.

ABSTRACT
This essay works on the opposition between face and mask, where ‘face’ is understood as that which makes every human being singular, and makes visible her or his unique worth, while ‘mask’ is understood as whatever hides that singularity, and refers to a category, stereotype or cliché. The etymological history that relates face and mask to the concept of person, and the history of modern portrait painting, which alternates representations of face and mask, both lead to a discussion with authors who diagnose a contemporary “defeat of the face” as a result of the crisis of humanism and of ethical individualism, which give meaning and dignity to that face.
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