The emotional appeal of a portrait

Self Portrait Van GoghAny good painting serves to stir emotions in the heart of the onlooker. It induces the person to keep looking at the portrait to find hidden layers of meaning. In fact most great portrayers of the olden times have created masterpieces which shocked and appalled people at the time. Yet today they are considered their best works till date. Also the fact of whether an oil painting is good or bad is a personal and subjective matter. It is beyond the structure, rules of good painting and techniques. Great oil painters have been able to wield a certain primal quality in their paintings which touch our hearts – till this day. Consider Van Gogh’s personal portraits of his own self. The expression on the face isn’t just a representation of the facial features but a deeper, more profound interpretation of his emotions at that stage of his life. Some of the best oil portrait artists have been able to successfully capture, anguish, ecstasy and grief in a single painting!

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