Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Portrait of a Woman

Ingres once asked 'Is there anything more difficult than painting the portrait of a woman?'. Indeed it was Ingres who I took as my model when completing a recent portrait.
The subject was a lovely Florentine lady, so I decided to try and interpret her in the Florentine 'sweet' style so familiar in the works of artists such as Perugino, Leonardo, Botticelli, Raphael and finding it's ultimate expression in Ingres. The basis of this style focuses upon the conceptualization of the subject. Big basic forms are clearly expressed with smaller details subdued. Smooth, luminous modelling and architecturalization of features (modelled on prototypes of classical sculpture) are evident. One can see this clearly in Ingres, who was emulating Raphael. It is also seen in the work of Bouguereau.

Here is my result :

When the subject came to see the portrait she asked "Pero, non e' finito, vero?" (It is not finished, is it?). She explained that she was flattered, but she wanted to look older. And so my experiment came to an end. Time for a repaint.
Since the painting as it was had been painted with an emphasis on the big simplified forms and smooth modelling adding age was relatively straight - forward. When she is happy with the result I will share the final result, and that of the companion portrait.

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