Just like in the story of Mr. Spinell*, who always averts his eyes in reflex when beholding something beautiful, such that only the arc of his eyelashes catch a glimpse of that which he decided to turn down. The view of what could have been seen after this abrupt decision doesn’t reach the iris, because it is being warded off by quick eyelids, lowered protectively. Within the security of his closed lids, Mr. Spinell imagines what acts of beauty and harmony might have unfolded outside; it all unfolds and takes shape, having been inspired by the minute glimpse of this awesome beauty that Mr. Spinell didn’t have the courage to observe in its entirety. The glance he invested served to gather enough information about this beauty to embellish it afterwards in his mind’s eye. This glance was cast in but a brief moment: Coup d’oeil. One might also say that the picture, donning the promise of beauty, had thrown itself upon Mr. Spinell’s eyes, and that he had felt compelled to close his eyes to avoid this invasion, to avoid having to recognize this beauty.
* to be found in Tristan by Thomas Mann