Archive for the ‘Modern Portraits’ Category

Pop Art Portraits

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Pop Art is an interesting way of looking at something which usually already exists in some capacity and taking something entirely new from it.  The medium can use paintings or photography which has been manipulated and through this, make the public view the image in some way they had never considered before.  For example, Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Diptych is a series of portraits of famed movie star Marilyn Monroe.  He took one single image of her, a publicity still from 1953, and copied the image 50 times, in a series of 5 rows and 10 columns.  The 25 images on the left all have striking, unnatural color added to them, which give the image a larger-than-life quality.  The 25 images on the left all are presented in black and white, with some images having different tones of black than others.  This half of the artwork all is starkly bleak, giving the viewer a reminder that anything can be faded away or forgotten.  The work as a whole is largely symbolic of the overwhelming presence that celebrity can have as well as the mortality that all of us will experience.

These portraits usually have some major elements in common.  Most often, they are taken from a photograph of a person, although they can also easily be drawn.  The portrait is then traditionally bleached out, leaving only the outline and faint traces of color where it used to be.  If it is hand-drawn, only an outline is traditionally created.  Colors are then filled in throughout the portrait in direct contrast to what they normally should be.  Backgrounds are usually filled with bright colors, hair is often distorted, and faces are often presented as either one flat color or with an abundance of what would be makeup.  The portraits are loud, bringing the piece much attention.  Perhaps more interesting, however, is the way that attention is drawn to details which might have otherwise gone unnoticed in a more traditional representation of the subject of the portrait.  This is where Pop Art makes its mark, making someone see something new in an image that they would otherwise look at everyday.


Cubist (modern) Portraits

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Ambroise Vollard - Pablo PicassoPicasso painted countless portraits in the Cubist style. Between fall and spring of 1909 Picasso painted over 60 portraits of his mistress and companion, Fernande Olivier. This is an amazing series of portraits and no other painter has this scope of work devoted to the portraiture of a single person. Picasso remains the single most prolific Cubist portrait artist.

The facial features in Cubist portraits are broken up and re-assembled in a very abstract form. In this style the artist depicts the portrayed person in a myriad of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context as well as from many perspectives. As Cubism evolved, Cubist artists began to focus even more on structure. This created the period that was called “Analytical Cubism”.

At this stage, bright colors were removed and portraits became monochromatic and were painted with earth tones. This helped the artist focus primarily on the structure of the painting. In the portraits of this period all the facial features: eyes, ears, nose, hair, etc, were deconstructed and rearranged again within the painting. The goal of all this expression was to depict different viewpoints at the same time.

Up until this point, artists saw objects or people as always viewed from one specific angle and at one specific moment in time. Picasso and Braque found this to be too limiting, and desired to represent objects and portraits as if the person was viewed from many angles or at different moments in time.

While at early periods of Cubism, the viewer could somewhat recognize the person being painted but as cubism evolved recognizing the subject became more and more difficult. This was indeed innovative while portraits became completely incomprehensible to the viewer. It became extremely difficult to recognize the person behind the portrait. It is interesting to note here that viewing the subject from many different angles and perspectives makes one loose the reference of the person, at least as many of us understand it.


Modern portrait artists (Cubism)

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Modern portrait Cubism

Portrait artists create portrait paintings while drawing inspiration from real life objects and persons around them. However, what adds to their significance is the ability to extend and twist common aspects of regular life. Most of the time, such painters tend to depict a painting based on their own interpretation of a particular subject. So while the muse maybe a woman with a mandolin, the outcome of the portrait maybe very different. In the final painted portrait, aspects which traditionally were the most valued aspects of the portrait, such as the facial expression of the woman being portrayed, may be the least important part of a modern portrait. It all depends on the personal perspective of the artist.

A good example of this is Picasso’s woman with mandolin, painted in 1910. Traditional artists depict objects & people from one viewpoint. Cubist artists paint objects & people from different perspectives to represent them from different angles. Cubist artists first analyze the subject. Afterwards they break it up and re-assemble it in an abstract form. This way, the subject can be viewed from different perspectives.


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