The artist is fascinated by appearances which can both hide and reveal the spirit of an individual. Like many of Le Brocquy's subjects, Joyce, a fellow-Irishman was brilliant and original and experienced great suffering. Le Brocquy's portraits of the novelist followed obsessive research into his work. In executing the portraits he made use of a variety of visual sources, including photographs and a bronze cast of Joyce's death mask. Le Brocquy believes that our kinetic visual culture has destroyed the possibility of achieving a single definitive portrait. He therefore prefers to explore the complex, multifaceted character of the individual through repeated impressions.