Can Art Bring The Dead to Life?

QUESTION:  Why does the man in this portrait look dead with ash-colored skin and sunken cheeks? 

Jacopo Pontormo, Cosimo de' Medici the Elder, 1518

ANSWER:  Because he was! "As one is torn away another appears" declares a mysterious scroll in this stunning portrait of Cosimo de' Medici the Elder, painted by Jacopo Pontormo around 1518, many decades after Cosimo's death (1464).  Quoting Virgil's AeneidUno avulso non deficit alter  Pontormo codes messages of reincarnation in plain sight.  Look at the hands - they are clasped to replicate the symbol of infinity visually rhyming with the elaborate knot of the scroll.

It is not just Orpheus or Hercules who can transcend the boundary between life and death with their famous descent to underworld and return to the living, it is the very nature of ART!