Tyro Replica

Mr Wyndham Lewis as a Tyro (1921) is a self-portrait, which is neither flattering nor dull. 'Tyros' were satirical, caricatured figures intended by Lewis to comment on the culture of the 'new epoch' that followed the First World War. It is displayed at Hull’s Ferrens Gallery and is a pleasant contrast to the Georgian works’ stilted styles and the Victorians’ romantic moralising. Yet it also appears elsewhere in the gallery, in Kenneth Fowler’s 1982 The Exhibition. The jaunty detail, the lively colour and the irregular perspective help makes this as fun a piece as Lewis’ Tyro. I smiled when I saw a piece of art included in another piece of art. Is the one any less authentic than the other? Did Fowler paint Lewis himself into his picture, or the stylised portrait of Lewis?

It caused me to consider John Hick’s replica theory. He argues against dualism, the belief that humans are made up of body and soul and that death separates the two. He suggests that God, upon our deaths, creates an exact replica of us in heaven, complete with our new bodies, personalities and memories. ‘I’ remain forever dead and buried, but a new version of ‘me’ will be given new life in heaven. Like everything else that Hick wrote, it is interesting, but nonsense. Neither of the two pictures of Lewis were really him; only the man himself was truly him. In heaven, I will be me. A new body, certainly. A wholly sanctified soul, surely. But I will be me and you will be you. When the Lord Jesus was born a human, He was not merely pretending or playing the part. When I enter His heaven, I shall be a more authentic version of me than I ever been here on earth.