This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Definition Of Portraiture Essay

4024 words - 17 pages

I have always maintained the belief that one cannot possibly define art, I thought the same of portraiture. However, through the selection of my chosen portraits, I noticed a collective theme; the sitters are all distinctly identifiable. I had not chosen one portrait in which the representation of the sitter had appeared in some abstract form, each portrait was a literal interpretation of the subject, serving as a point of reference.
A portrait is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “A painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders,” but surely it cannot be so simply defined, summarised in a sentence of no more than 20 ...view middle of the document...

Through my chosen six portraits I will attempt to explore my own personal definition of portraiture, to uncover whether the craft can be defined.

The first of my chosen artworks, is Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of Giuliano de Medici, painted with tempera and oil on a panel, measuring 76cm by 53 cm, and finished in 1478.
Giuliano was the younger brother of the powerful Lorenzo de Medici, who was just five years the senior of Botticelli. The Medici had long been a ruling family in Florence, as patrons of the arts they sponsored many young artists such as Botticelli. This particular portrait of Giuliano was painted sometime towards the end of his life, either before or shortly after his very public assassination in front of the gathered mass, which was organized by the Pazzi family. The painting therefore is an accurate rendition of Giuliano and was likely commissioned in honour of Lorenzo’s fallen brother.
The motivation behind a portrait plays an important part of its success; this was especially true during the renaissance period. Artists who were commissioned to paint a portrait would generally try to flatter their sitter, and in doing so, hopefully flatter their patron as well. In general, distinctive features would be smoothed out slightly, richer colours would be used to display wealth and status, and symbol which would show viewers that this was a man of magnitude.
In the case of Botticelli’s Portrait of Giuliano de Medici, his portrait served as both in memory of Giuliano, and as warning to other plotting enemies. Botticelli paints him a regal red vest, in a clear and vibrant display of the family’s wealth. The creases help add depth and texture to the painting. He positions him in the classic renaissance position, his body tilted to the side at a ¾ angle. His head is turned so that it silhouettes his distinctive family features. His chin is tilted up slightly, while his mostly closed eyes follow the downward slanting curve of his Medici nose. This gives him an air of lofty ostentation and may serve as another reminder of his status.
However, in light of the context surrounding the commissioning of the portrait, one may argue that this expression portrays Giuliano in an almost saint like pose; the deep-set, downcast eyes emphasizing his suffering and lending strength to the symbolic motifs used by Botticelli. Slight chiaroscuro along his cheek bones and eyes add a depth of darkness and sadness to the painting. Some scholars believe the near closed eyelids support the belief that the portrait was commissioned by Lorenzo sometime shortly after his brother’s death.
In the portrait Giuliano is place skillfully within the frame of a window. In the background, one shutter door of the window is open, granting us view to the blue sky beyond, while the other is closed. To any Florentine alive at the time, this was a clear symbol of death, the open window, a gateway from our world to the next. This thematic symbolism of death is continued...

Other Essays Like The Definition of Portraiture

The Definition of Insanity as it Relates to Criminal Offences

551 words - 3 pages The insanity defense is a defense asserted by an accused in a criminal prosecution to avoid liability for the commission of a crime because, at the time of the crime, the person did not appreciate the nature or quality or wrongfulness of the acts. The insanity defense is used by criminal defendants. The most common variation is cognitive insanity. Under the test for cognitive insanity, a defendant must have been so impaired by a mental

Every Day Monsters; An Analysis Of The Definition Of Monsters And Marvels In The Middle Ages, Based On The Book "Monsters And Marvels" By Ambroise Pare

1699 words - 7 pages determine how one categorized or defined a monster in the Middle Ages, as to make them such a common phenomenon whereas in the twenty-first century, many people think the closest they have come to a real monster is the movie theatre. Ambroise Parè's book Monsters and Marvels, originally published in 1573, defines Monsters as the following: "Monsters are things that appear outside the course of Nature..." and Marvels: "Marvels are things which

The Small History on Portrait Photography

1065 words - 5 pages The Small History on Portrait Photography When we enter a discussion of the history of portraiture, we need to understand that we are looking not only at what has come before, but also at trends that will be used again. An examination of portraiture over the past 2,000 years shows many ideas that are still used in photographic portraiture. We are not saying that the portraiture of the past is what we should do, but rather that the ideas

Discuss the different artists of the Italian Renaissance

477 words - 2 pages As we all know, the Renaissance was a time of great art and change. Three of the great artists of the Renaissance were Bellini, Michelangelo, and Raphael. These men, in my opinion, created great works of art that are still being cherished by many today. Bellini was the most important painter active in Venice in the late 15th century. He was

Comparative Visual Art Essay

800 words - 4 pages Visual Art 2B Investigation Task Part B Sarah Webb Comparative Art Essay Del Kathryn Barton and Carrie Ann Baade Portraiture art work can be used as a means of defining, or providing insight into who a person is. A portrait looks beyond a simple persona by using certain elements that characterise the subject in the way that artist wishes the audience to perceive them. Contemporary portraiture artists Del Kathryn Barton and

Edgar Degas

527 words - 3 pages . He worked with a number of media: oil, pastel, lithography, engraving, and sculpture. From the mid-1850s through the mid-1870s Degas explored many types of subject matter. He copied works by earlier artists and executed his own history paintings, portraits, and scenes of daily life. Degas eventually ended his efforts at history painting and devoted more attention to portraiture, turning images of relatives and friends into complex

Brand Extension

619 words - 3 pages | | | | | | |Term |Definition | |Public Relations |The MANAGEMENT of COMMUNICATION between and ORGANIZATION and its

Anthony Van Dyck: Mother Of Sorrows

958 words - 4 pages tranquil, yet emotionally evoking, piece reveals van Dyck's skill in the art of portraiture and in pensive religious work. The use of loose handling brushwork and his use of the canvas texture reflect the work of Titian. Each visible stroke of oil stands independently as it blends to give the artwork an overall rough texture.The organization of the painting causes the viewer to focus on both the expression of Mary's face and the tender positioning

Nietzsche's Portraiture: Wagner as Worthy Opponent

3379 words - 14 pages Nietzsche's Portraiture: Wagner as Worthy Opponent ABSTRACT: Richard Wagner always represented for Nietzsche the Germany of that time. By examining Nietzsche's relationship to Wagner throughout his writings, one is also examining Nietzsche's relationship to his culture of birth. I focus on the writings from the late period in order to clarify Nietzsche's view of his own project regarding German culture. I show that Nietzsche created a

Comparisons Between Gillian Wearing, Gavin Hipkins and Ann Noble

769 words - 4 pages images to give an overall impression of his theme, while Noble (in this case) is a little more fond of letting a picture speak for itself, and places objects such as rugby posts inside an artic landscape to perpertrate her concepts. Portraiture is heavily utilised by Noble and Wearing, although very differently. Hipkins does use some portrait style photography, but not quite to the degree that Noble and Wearing do. Wearing uses very straight

Ancient Greek Paintings

1315 words - 6 pages features of the face.Theophanes, Byzantine painter, whose innovative, individualistic style, characterized by vigorous brushstrokes, convincing portraiture, and unusual colors, created an elevated form of beauty that strongly influenced later Russian painting. He began his career in Constantinople and Crimea but worked in Russia after about 1370. Although he produced large numbers of frescoes and wall paintings for churches and palaces, very little

Related Papers

The Definition Of Curriculum Essay

1313 words - 6 pages The term "curriculum" is not a straight forward word that can be defined nor its depth appreciated. Further investigation into this topic reveals that the art and science of curriculum building is a complex field that many authors, scholars or academic writers each have a different definition describing what curriculum means to them. This essay will attempt to address issues such as various definitions of curriculum, its purpose or goal, how it

The Definition Of Philosophy Essay

691 words - 3 pages The Definition of Philosophy The world’s transformation from the beginning of time till the present day self sufficient juggernaut can only be credited to the many intelligent people along the way and their thirst of knowledge. The knowledge in which people thirst for or acquire through studies can be determined as many different meanings. The Greek Romans developed the overall concept of philosophy by taking the Greek work philosophia

How And To What Extent Did War And Violence Contribute To The Definition Of Chivalry As Both An Historical And Social Phenomenon?

1934 words - 8 pages How and to what extent did war and violence contribute to the definition of chivalry as both an historical and social phenomenon? It is largely acknowledged by historians that, while it is difficult to be definitive in the meaning of chivalry-with Maurice Keen believing it to be a ‘word elusive of definition’- it came to denote the culture of a martial estate which ‘regarded war as its hereditary profession’. Thus, it could be considered that

Select 2 Competing Suppliers For The Same Goods Or Service. Critically Evaluate Their E Strategies And Diagnose The Definition Of The Market, The Kfs And What The Value To End User

4541 words - 19 pages very distinguish from others.Service is also a very important part of product strategy of online shops. Here, I would like to introduce the situation of the two online stores about their services to compare them more detailed. Service is an inseparable part of product definition, which can influence the extent of satisfactory and loyalty of customers to the companies. The two stores all provide guarantee for the quality of products and delivery