Portrait Scavenger Hunt

December 28, 2013

The human figure is such a powerful vessel. It is the “stuff” that contains our beings. There have been several occasions that I have sat down to share a collection of portraits, but I stop myself. Which ones do I show? How many do I share? Everything I chose seems inadequate; even a few examples may be overwhelming. In the spirit of the new year being upon us, I decided to begin sifting through the Google Art Project┬áto find some new works I had never seen before. I had my own little portrait scavenger hunt and have picked some of my favorites.

This first one is my favorite of the grouping. The girl is so cool, so innocent, except for that red flower protruding from her mouth. This painting captures her youthful beauty, but it also tells us there is something more there. Some hardship, some knowledge beyond her years.

Adolfo Guiard, The Little Village Girl with Red Carnation 1903

Adolfo Guiard, The Little Village Girl with Red Carnation 1903

Some artists may labor to hide the true character of the model, but the inside always finds a way of showing itself.

Klimt, Blind Man 1896

Klimt, Blind Man 1896

Agda Holst, Self-Portrait 1925

Agda Holst, Self-Portrait 1925

Sometimes what we don’t see tells us the most,

Toulouse-Latrec, The Model Resting 1889

Toulouse-Latrec, The Model Resting 1889

or maybe we are only shown a particular side of someone.

Guillermo Kahlo, Self-portrait

Guillermo Kahlo, Self-portrait

Maybe it is pain or vulnerability or joy despite these things.

Nickolas Muray, Frida Kahlo Lying Down 1946

Nickolas Muray, Frida Kahlo Lying Down 1946

Alexej Jawlensky, Portrait of a Girl 1909

Alexej Jawlensky, Portrait of a Girl 1909

Portraits have the ability to shape our view of the subject. They may persuade us to love or dislike the person we see reflected on the canvas. They connect us to the existence of others; we see parts of ourselves drawn in someone else’s face. What a pleasure to share such beauty with all people, past and present.

Look. Listen. Respond.

-Megan

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