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ca. 1733 ca. 1741 1746 1747 1748 1750

QuinSee™, Jay DeBoer's New Digital Photo Superimposition Program, Meets The Bach Portraits! Page at The Face Of Bach

The Face Of Bach

This remarkable photograph is not a computer generated composite; the original of the Weydenhammer Portrait Fragment, all that remains of the portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach that belonged to his pupil Johann Christian Kittel, is resting gently on the surface of the original of the 1748 Elias Gottlob Haussmann Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach.

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1748 Elias Gottlob Haussmann Portrait, Courtesy of William H. Scheide, Princeton, New Jersey
Weydenhammer Portrait Fragment, ca. 1733, Artist Unknown, Courtesy of the Weydenhammer Descendants
Photograph by Teri Noel Towe
©Teri Noel Towe, 2001, All Rights Reserved

QuinSee™, Jay DeBoer's New Digital Photo Superimposition Program, Meets The Bach Portraits!

On the morning of April 26, 2001, the telephone rang at Applejack Farm, my beloved country house in Wickford, Rhode Island, and the voice at the other end of the line asked to speak to me. I confess that I am not fond of the telephone, and I have no hesitation to admit, no, to trumpet, my detestation of telemarketers of every kind. After all, my parents reared me the old-fashioned way. They brought me up to believe that the telephone was created to convey information, that it was not a substitute for correspondence and face-to-face social contact. The only exception, of course, is the distant relative, loved one, or close friend.

As I am wont to be when confronted telephonically with an unfamiliar voice, I was wary. "Who may I say is calling, please?"

"Jay DeBoer, of Digital Matrix™. I very much want to talk to him about permission to use the Weydenhammer Portrait Fragment and the 1748 Haussmann portrait to demonstrate a photo superimposition program called, QuinSee™, that I have developed for my company, Digital Matrix™."

Needless to say, Jay's was a telephone call that I was delighted -- no, thrilled -- to receive, a telephone call of which I had dreamed!

QuinSee™, which Jay has named after Quincy, the forensic pathologist that Jack Klugman played in the popular television series that aired weekly nearly 30 years ago, facilitates the blending of one image into another, before your very eyes, on your computer monitor, and the program that Jay has created makes it possible for anyone who acquires the program, even an old blunderbuss like me, to create such transmogrifications at home or at the office. No longer is such technology the exclusive province of organizations like the CIA, the FBI, Disney, Dreamworks, or the television networks.

Manna from Heaven! Now, thanks to QuinSee™, it would be possible to age Bach, or to make him younger! It would be possible to see whether the aging of the facial features in the various Bach portraits was smooth and "natural".

Of course, I confirmed the grant of permission with both Bill Scheide and the Weydenhammer Descendants, but I told Jay at once how ecstatic I was at the prospects and possibilities that QuinSee™ presented.

The results have proven to be beyond even my wildest dreams, and, with Jay's permission, I am sharing them with you.

It is fortunate that, fortuitously and serendipitously, Bach posed the same way for the ca. 1733 Weydenhammer Portrait Fragment, the 1746 Haussmann Portrait, the 1748 Haussmann Portrait, and the 1750 Volbach Portrait. The pose that Bach adopts in the ca. 1742 Meiningen Pastel, alas, is just different enough from the others to make the superimposition ineffective. And Jay and I chose to leave the 1746 Haussmann Portrait out of the superimposition project altogether because, as those of you who have read the page on the 1746 Haussmann Portrait already are painfully aware, the painting is in such a poor state of preservation that it is no longer in any way reliable as an accurate depiction of the facial features of Johann Sebastian Bach.

But, as my father used to say, "40% of something is better than 100% of nothing."

You will have to be patient, as I had to be, of course, because it takes a while for these remarkable images to download and to animate themselves. The images, even though they are in the "gif" format, are large, and, if your computer has a 28.8 modem, it can take as long as ten minutes for the images to download completely and then animate themselves.

The first image is the first QuinSee™ photo superimposition that Jay showed to me. In it, you will see Sebastian Bach shed 25 to 30 pounds and about 15 years, lose the drooping eyelids, and reclaim a few teeth as the 1748 Haussmann Portrait dissolves and is transmogrified into the Weydenhammer Portrait Fragment, the long lost portrait of Bach that belonged to Kittel. For this image, Jay used the image that is reproduced at the top of this page, in fact, at the top of every page at The Face Of Bach.

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The second and third images, which Jay created, using QuinSee™, for The Face Of Bach at my request, add the Volbach Portrait to the equation, and I am deeply grateful to Fritz B. Volbach, the grandson of Fritz Volbach who now owns the painting, for graciously granting permission for the portrait to be used for these superimpositions. For these superimpositions, the direct digital scan that Michael V. Cohen of New York Film Works made of the Weydenhammer Portrait Fragment after it had been cleaned by Alain Goldrach, the photograph that I took of the 1748 Haussmann Portrait that is used elsewhere at The Face Of Bach for comparison purposes, and a digital scan of the 8x10 transparency that Fritz B. Volbach recently had made of the Volbach Portrait for my use in my researches and analyses.

You will see Bach age and age drastically, and you will be able to understand fully not only just how devastating his long last illness was but also how quickly, how completely, and how poignantly the physical collapse in the last year of his life altered his physical appearance.

First, a Digital Matrix™ QuinSee™ superimposition, created by Jay DeBoer, that ages Bach before your very eyes. The ca. 1733 Weydenhammer Portrait Fragment dissolves into the 1748 Haussmann Portrait, which, in turn, dissolves into the 1750 Volbach Portrait:

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Second, a Digital Matrix™ QuinSee™ superimposition, created by Jay DeBoer, that ages Bach and then reverses the process. In this case, the ca. 1733 Weydenhammer Portrait Fragment dissolves into the 1748 Haussmann Portrait, which, in turn, dissolves into the 1750 Volbach Portrait, and then the portraits dissolve, one into the other, in reverse order, as if Bach miraculously had discovered the River Pleisse's equivalent to Ponce De Leon's mythical Fountain of Youth:

The message that these astonishing, mesmerizing, and compelling Digital Matrix™ QuinSee™ superimpositions convey to the viewer is shattering, to say the least. The smooth "dissolves" from one image to the next, with no jarring differences in any of the facial features, except, of course, the effects of the passage of time, whether time advances or retreats, point inevitably to one conclusion, and to one conclusion only.

Of course, I am biased, but, yet again, I express a sentiment that I have expressed elsewhere at this web site:

How could anyone come away from these comparisons thinking anything other than that these are all depictions of the same face, at different times in that face's life?

And that face is the face of Johann Sebastian Bach.

The Face Of Bach.

Needless to say, there are not words in the language adequate to convey the extent of my gratitude to Jay DeBoer and to his company Digital Matrix™ for choosing to come to me and to The Face Of Bach for portrait images to demonstrate the efficacy of QuinSee™, his astonishing digital photo superimposition program.

For more information on Jay DeBoer's extraordinary digital photo superimposition program, please visit the Digital Matrix™ QuinSee™ website, at

Teri Noel Towe
May 26, 2001

Please click on 1092-18A-0100v.jpg  Loading 35034 bytes to return to the Index Page at The Face Of Bach.

Please click on abdyjsb2.jpg to visit the Johann Sebastian Bach Index Page at Teri Noel Towe's Homepages.

Please click on the crabby2.jpg to visit the Teri Noel Towe Welcome Page.

Copyright, Teri Noel Towe, 2000 , 2002
Unless otherwise credited, all images of the Weydenhammer Portrait:  Copyright, The Weydenhammer Descendants, 2000
All Rights Reserved

The Face Of Bach
Remains Profoundly Grateful to
The Rainbow Flag Civic Center

For Providing the Cyberspace for The Face Of Bach
For the First Eight Years of Its Existence.
Thank you, Nathan P. Johansen!
The Face Of Bach
Now Is Profoundly Grateful to
The Bach Cantatas Website

For Providing The Face Of Bach
With a New Home.
Thank you, Aryeh Oron!

The Face Of Bach is a PPP Free Early Music website.
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The Face Of Bach
has received the HIP Woolly Mammoth Stamp of Approval from
The HIP-ocrisy Home Page.

ca. 1733 ca. 1741 1746 1747 1748 1750


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