Two images of the feminine emerge in this unique double self-portrait, in which Hesse’s vision of a bride is coupled with a haunted Other. Anticipation is written into the scene in more than one sense. The bride sits at the edge of her chair, with her elbows bent as if she is about to rise. The spectre, in turn, seems to have moved in front of the bride, prompting her to follow—perhaps signaling that the bride’s passage into matrimony will be accompanied by haunting doubts or nightmares.
Further consideration of the image yields more questions than answers. Is the spectre haunting the bride, or is it the other way around? And why is the spectre portrayed in dense, opaque colors with distinct facial traits, while the bride is semitransparent, almost wan and faceless? Are the bride and her spectre about to separate or about to merge? All that is clear is that the bride and her spectral apparition seem wholly and mutually connected.