about portraiture…

April 7, 2009

 I love portraiture, and I have many reasons why people should have their portraits painted.  It is unfortunate, that there is a stigma of a “vain thing to do” attached to commissioning a portrait – of oneself, or even of one’s family or friends. Sure, it involves time and money (and other more intangible things) to create a portrait. But it equally gives back. Let me put it this way: imagine, that your grandparents had their portrait painted in their time. Wouldn’t it be great for you to have it? And imagine, they shied away from it, reasoning that it was self-indulgent… What would be your advice to them?

In the house of one of our friends, when we only just met them, I saw a portrait of a grandfather as a boy of 10. It was a very good painting dating from the beginning of 20th century. The boy’s attitude was very well expressed – he wasn’t pleased to be there, sitting still, while a beautiful day and the cousins with the ball were just outside the window. That was the little story the hostess told me, while her boys along with their cousins and friends were running outside her window… That portrait created a link. A thin thread between generations was made material. Every portrait of any person, however insignificant he might be on a big scale of things, records the history. A history on a personal level.