1000 Portraits of Genius (Book)

1000 Portraits of Genius (Book)

Language: English

Pages: 544

ISBN: 1844848035

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


According to the defined canons of art technique, a portrait should be, above all, a faithful representation of its model. However, this gallery of 1000 portraits illustrates how the genre has been transformed throughout history, and has proven itself to be much more complex than a simple imitation of reality.

Beyond exhibiting the skill of the artist, the portrait must surpass the task of imitation, as just and precise as it may be, to translate both the intention of the artist as well as that of its patron, without betraying either’s wishes.Therefore, these silent witnesses, carefully selected in these pages, reveal more than faces of historic figures or anonymous subjects: they reveal a psychology more than an identity, illustrate an allegory, serve as political and religious propaganda, and embody the customs of their epochs.

With its impressive number of masterpieces, biographies, and commentaries on works, this book presents and analyses different portraits, consequently exposing to the reader, and to any art lover, a reflection of the evolution of society, and above all the upheavals of a genre that, over 3 centuries of painting, has shaped the history of art.

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additions to the regular temple plan. The caryatid figures have all the solidity of form we find in other fifth-century sculpture, and therefore seem up to the task of supporting a roof. The exaggerated shift in weight, and the clinginess of the drapery, are typical of sculpture of the end of the fifth century B.C.E. 64. Cinerary urn in shape of Mater Matuta, Pedata Necropolis, Chianciano, Etruscan, c. 430 B.C.E. Terracotta. National Archaeological Museum, Florence.

Pentelic marble. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis. Polykleitos (Active during the 5th century B.C.E.) Polykleitos was a contemporary of Phidias, and in the opinion of the Greeks, his equal. He made a figure of an Amazon for Ephesus regarded as superior to the Amazon of Phidias made at the same time; and his colossal Hera of gold and ivory, which stood in the temple near Argos, was considered worthy to rank with the Zeus of Phidias. The masterpiece of

100-50 B.C.E. Bronze, height: 128 cm. Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome. A rare bronze statue that survived from antiquity, this powerful image of a tired boxer is likely an original Hellenistic work, dated perhaps to the first century B.C.E. The seated pose of the boxer invites the viewer to look down at the figure, as he in turn looks up,

Cerveteri, Etruscan, early 1st century B.C.E. Painted terracotta, height: 32 cm. Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, Rome. 93. Portrait Bust of Cicero, Roman, 1st century B.C.E. Marble. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. 94. Portrait Head, old palaestra, Delos, Greek, late Hellenistic style, c. 80 B.C.E. Bronze, height: 32.4 cm. National Archaeological Museum, Athens. 95. Portrait Head of Cleopatra VII, Roman, c. 31 B.C.E. Marble, height: 29.5 cm.

express themselves in their own introspective manner when painting a portrait. Obviously the noblest revelation of character is in the artist’s idealization of the figure. When the painter can illustrate his understanding of the soul of the sitter, he fulfils the highest function of his art. Psychological insight is a second quality that is equally important in the portrait painter – the power to give lifelikeness to a sitter. In a dynamic portrait it should

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