Storytelling on vimeo
Storytelling on vimeo
Portraits as a ‘likeness’ of an individual captured through painting, drawing and/or photography have been a part of human culture since prehistoric times. However portraits can have many different purposes that affect the way in which the concept of ‘likeness’ is interpreted, the form of ‘capturing’. Portraits vary widely in for example:
This is often affected by:
These factors have varied significantly over time.
Prehistoric cave paintings, pottery and statuettes depicted people in abstracted form. Some of these may have represented particular people eg chiefs, or deities where particular characteristics have been exaggerated eg fertility or facial features/hairstyles/clothing showing ethnic identity.
Egypt: portraits of rulers and gods were highly stylised, and most in profile, usually on stone, metal, clay, plaster, or crystal. Egyptian portraiture placed relatively little emphasis on likeness, at least until the period ofAkhenaten in the 14th century BC.portrait bust of Queen Nefertiti sculpted in c.1360 bc
China: Portrait painting of notables in China probably goes back to over 1000 BC, though none survive from that age. Existing Chinese portraits go back to about 1000 AD
Ancient Greek and Roman portraiture was often highly accurate and subjects were depicted with relatively little flattery. Sculpted heads of rulers and famous personalities like Socrates show why he had a reputation for being ugly.
Most early medieval portraits were commissioned by , initially mostly of popes in Roman mosaics, and illuminated manuscripts, an example being a self-portrait by the writer, mystic, scientist, illuminator, and musician Hildegard of Bingen.
Many innovations in the various forms of portraiture evolved because of economic and social changes in the role of the artist, and technological innovations eg use of oil paints that enabled finer brush strokes.
Northern European: Durer, Jan van Eyck, Holbein
Italy: the Florentine and Milanese nobility wanted more realistic representations of themselves that stimulated experimentation and innovation particularly in creating convincing full and three-quarter views. Artists like Sandro Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Lorenzo di Credi, and Leonardo da Vinci and other artists added portraiture to traditional religious and classical subjects, often in very similar style. Leonardo and Pisanello were among the first Italian artists to add allegorical symbols to their secular portraits.
In the 16th Century artists increasingly experimented with printmaking techniques to produce figurative portraits as for example:
Rembrandt van Rijn who painted powerful portraits of himself ‘warts and all’ as he grew older. In addition to paintings he also made etchings.
Benedetto Castiglione who, influenced by Rembrandt, experimented with monoprint from 1640 to produce very detailed portraits.
Saw further development of figurative portraits by artists like Ingres, Watteau. But also the evolution of:
Artists continued to abstract further:
Other artists focus much more on inner emotions, particularly in self-portraits, in some cases focusing more on symbolic objects than representation of the subject themselves:
!!to be completed
Studies for Project 2.2 Random Abstract Prints
Issues for printmaking technique:
Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) was eminent among the second generation of postwar American abstract painters and is widely credited for playing a pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting.
Through her invention of the soak-stain technique, she expanded the possibilities of abstract painting, while at times referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways. Her 1952 Mountains and Sea, was a seminal, breakthrough painting of American abstraction. Pioneering the “stain” painting technique, she poured thinned paint directly onto raw, unprimed canvas laid on the studio floor, working from all sides to create floating fields of translucent color. Mountains and Sea was immediately influential for the artists who formed the Color Field school of painting, notable among them Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland.
Some of the most impactful for the mixing of pigments on the surface are her watercolours.
In addition to unique paintings on canvas and paper, she worked in a wide range of media, including ceramics, sculpture, tapestry, and especially printmaking. As a significant voice in the mid-century “print renaissance” among American abstract painters, she is particularly renowned for her woodcuts.
Stain painting techniques
John Virtue is an English artist who specialises in monochrome landscapes. He is honorary Professor of Fine Art at the University of Plymouth, and from 2003–2005 was the sixth Associate Artist at London’s National Gallery.
Virtue was born in Accrington, Lancashire in 1947. He trained at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1965 to 1969. In 1971 he moved to Green Haworth, near Oswaldtwistle, painting landscapes for two years before abandoning painting in favour of pen and ink drawings comprising dense networks of lines akin to the work of Samuel Palmer.
Maintaining a studio in Exeter, he produced works around the Exe estuary, before being offered the post of Associate Artist at the National Gallery. This scheme engages contemporary artists to produce work that “connects to the National Gallery Collection” and demonstrates “the continuing inspiration of the Old Master tradition”.
He is well known for his “London Paintings” which were displayed in The National Gallery and focused on the London skyline, using easily distinguishable landmarks from the capital such as the Gherkin, the NatWest Tower and St. Paul’s Cathedral, to familiarise his audience with the otherwise hazy, smoggy and ambiguous drawings.
Virtue’s awards include: first prize in the Sunday Mirror painting competition (1964), Walter Neurath prize for painting awarded by Thames & Hudson Publishers (1966), Arts Council Major Award (1981), Joint First prize-winner in the 4th Tolly Cobbold Exhibition (1983), and Best Visual Artist in the South Bank Awards (2006).
His work during his National Gallery tenure was exhibited in 2005 at the National Gallery and Courtauld Institute, and his final, large-scale, London works were exhibited at the University of Plymouth in 2007.He moved to Italy to work and returned in 2009 to live in North Norfolk. where he has continued to produce work, for example, ‘The Sea’ exhibitions[
Fauvism and Expressionism influenced:
Fauvism is the name applied to the work produced from around 1905 to 1910 by a group of French artists led by Henri Matisse and André Derain, but including Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, Georges Rouault, and Maurice de Vlaminck ). It was inspired by post-impressionism of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Paul Cézanne. The name les fauves (‘the wild beasts’) was coined by the critic Louis Vauxcelles when he saw the work of Henri Matisse and André Derain in an exhibition, the salon d’automne in Paris, in 1905.
Fauvism was characterised by:
It was an important precursor to Expressionism, Cubism and future modes of abstraction.
Alexej Georgewitsch von Jawlensky (Russian: Алексей Георгиевич Явленский) (13 March 1864 – 15 March 1941) was a Russian expressionist painter active in Germany. He was a key member of the New Munich Artist’s Association (Neue Künstlervereinigung München), Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group and later the Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four).
Tate website: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/f/fauvism