Friday, February 3, 2017
The history of portrait painting is a long one - portraits of princesses sent to prospective husbands for one. Think of Henry VIII feeling that the portrait of Anne of Cleves was not a true one as reality was different from the flattering painting. In 17th-century Holland. social status was reinforced by portraits by prominent artists of the times. This continued with CEO's of business and important academics having portraits painted for display in their realms of influence. Then photography became better and society turned to studio photographs until that became mainstream. Then it was back to painted portraits for those who could afford it. Curators at the Art Gallery of Ontario say that a successful portrait captures "what a person wants you to know about them and what the artist sees beneath the surface." Lucien Freud was a master of letting the viewer see beneath the surface of his subjects. Brenda Bury, an outstanding Canadian portraitist, says: "Looking at the portrait the viewer should recognize a fellow human. Machines, such as cameras, don't know the difference between the living and the dead. Painters are required to." Brenda has even painted the Queen and her paintings sell for $15,000 to $30,000. Drawings or pastels range from $3,000 to $6,000. I'd be happy to work for much less! There is something particularly interesting in the human face. I haven't heard if Harold has seen this painting but a lot of the people who viewed it at Gateway felt that it captured his personality.
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