It’s a portrait of Charles Baudelaire by Étienne Carjat.
Baudelaire wasn’t the biggest fan of photography. After its invention in the mid-1800’s, the recognized poet denounced the medium as a true art form. As documented in the book Baudelaire, Man of His Time, he was quoted as saying, that for photography:
“its real purpose…is that of being the servant to the sciences and arts.” He’s also the same individual who said,
“What is art? Prostitution.”
I stare at this photograph every day. It hangs in the entryway to my bedroom.