Art: Pictures of the Soul

Picasso once brushed aside a criticism that his portrait of Gertrude Stein did not look like her by saying simply: "It will." In Manhattan, Vienna-trained Painter Rudolf Ray, 63, is trying to go Picasso one better. His aim: to arrive at the final "soulscape," the abstract essence of the sitter, by painting a series of eight portraits—one on top of the other. To the uninitiated the soulscapes may look like nothing more than shards of colored glass or a heavy calligraphic scrawl. But to Ray's followers, who include Hindu gurus, Taoist philosophers and...

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