I’m reading an interesting book at the moment – Portraiture by Shearer West. How about this:
‘Portraits are not just likenesses but works of art that engage with ideas of identity as they are perceived, represented, and understood in different times and places. ‘Identity’ can encompass the character, personality, social standing, relationships, profession, age, and gender of the portrait subject. These qualities are not fixed but are expressive of the expectations and circumstances of the time the portrait was made. These aspects of identity cannot be reproduced, but they can only be suggested or evoked. Thus although portraits depict individuals, it is often the typical or conventional – rather than unique – qualities of the subject that are stressed by the artist, as demonstrated in Holbein’s George Gisze. Portraiture has also been subject to major changes in artistic practice and convention. Even though most portraits retain some degree of verisimilitude, they are nonetheless products of prevailing artistic fashions and favoured styles, techniques, and media. Portraiture is thus a vast art category that offers a rich range of engagements with social, psychological, and artistic practices and expectations.’
Less swilling, more forming.
Image: Hans Holbein the Younger, George Gisze, 1532
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