Polydactylism, having one or more extra fingers or toes, is a fairly
common abnormality, but it is one I've always found fascinating. How
strange that the outward manifestation of certain medical conditions is
the duplication of a finger or a toe. Among all the possible genetic
mutations, this is certainly one of the least disfiguring and may even
have potential benefits in feats of manual dexterity. Properly utilized,
those extras digits could aid in playing complicated piano sonatas, or
throw a mean curve ball. But these days, extra digits are routinely removed
This portrait was inspired by a photograph of an unknown fellow
who was described only as "the best cotton picker around", which though
mundane must have been a source of pride.
The setting for this earnest fellow was inspired by the gesture of
the sitter in Petrus Christus's 1446 portrait of Edward Grimston.
[To see more drawings from this series, please visit the Prodigies