In the 18th and 19th centuries, wealthy British and European lovers exchanged eye miniatures, love tokens that captured the gaze of the recipients significant other. They were worn on the lapel as to be close to the heart.
Less than 1,000 are thought to exist, often both the owner of the piece and the subject within it are never identified.
'...a face from Botticelli' / Meshes of the Afternoon
"During her last year of life, Maya, Teiji (her young third husband), Adolfas, and I saw each other at least once a week. It seems strange, but I do not remember any ‘memorable,’ ‘intellectual’ discussions together. It was all talk about what had to be done for the next event, or else about what we had seen, or our friends, or memories of Europe—and Adolfas and I used to go home all excited and not be able to sleep half the night. And then we would wake up and forget it all and another day would begin…
"Now, looking back in my memory, remembering it all in glimpses, in single frames, I see Maya’s face, always very intense, never making small talk. There was always a very special subtle laugh behind that intensity, which would come out in brief spurts. Those who didn’t see this lighter side usually were a little bit frightened by Maya. The intensity is reflected in all of Maya’s faces, in her films. The exception perhaps is one of her most frequently reproduced images: Maya as a face from Botticelli. Curiously, though, that image was filmed and ‘directed’ by Sasha Hammid, and I think it represents his dream of Maya: he threw her back to the Renaissance. All the other faces of Maya are rich with the reverberations of twentieth-century modern art." — Jonas Mekas on Maya Deren