Amazing Portraits! (Part 2)
Posted on March 28, 2011 by Andy Renmei
Welcome to this new selection of incredible portraits.
Click HERE for the Part 1.
Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest, by El Greco
In formal portraiture of the period, it is characteristic that the individuality of the sitter is subservient to the manifestation of virtue. El Greco’s portrait of an unknown knight with his hand on his breast is an example. He is shown solemnly committing his whole being to a higher principle, for the gesture of placing the right hand on the heart signalled not only pious respect but also a declaration of intent that would be upheld as a matter of honour. Since the knight directly faces and presents himself to the viewer, exactly as if he were making a vow, the viewer becomes a witness to his solemn act.
Luci_four, by Russ Mills
Green Stripe (Madame Matisse), by Henri Matisse
The green stripe down the center of Amélie Matisse’s face acts as an artificial shadow line and divides the face in the conventional portraiture style, with a light and a dark side, Matisse divides the face chromatically, with a cool and warm side. The left side of the face seems to echo the green in the picture’s right, the corresponding is true for the right side of the face, where the pink responds to the orange on the left. The natural light is translated directly into colors and the highly visible brush strokes add to the sense of artistic drama.
Self-portrait With Isabella Brant, by Peter Paul Rubens
Self-Portrait, by Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh painted a total of some 35 self-portraits during the course of his career. Of these, about 29 date from Paris. He very much wanted to paint portraits in this period, but could not afford models. He used his own reflection was a natural, inexpensive and easy solution and it allowed him to experiment with various styles, techniques and effects of light and color. Most of the Parisian self-portraits are rather small. They were clearly meant as studies and as experiments. This can be seen in the loose, very free manner in which many are executed, and in the use of cheap materials such as cardboard in place of linen or canvas.
The Golden Bowl, by Frank Cadogan Cowper
A Boy Blowing on an Ember to Light a Candle, by El Greco
The instigator of this painting, representing a boy pursing his fleshy lips to blow on the ember in order to light the black wick of a candle, of which the wax is already melting on account of the heat, may have been Fulvio Orsini, the librarian of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in whose palace El Greco resided between 1570 and 1572. The title ‘Soplón’ (Blower) was given in Jorge Manuel’s inventory.
The subject of a boy blowing on an ember appears frequently as a subsidiary element in subject pictures in mid-sixteenth-century Venetian painting.
Paddy Flannigan, by George Bellows
Sources: Web Galley of Art, Henry-matisse.com, Vangoghmuseum.nl