Книги издательства National Portrait Gallery Publications
Russian portraiture enjoyed a golden age between the late 1860s and the First World War. While Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were publishing masterpieces such as Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov and Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov were taking Russian music to new heights, Russian art was developing a new self-confidence. The penetrating Realism of the 1870s and 1880s was later complemented by the brighter hues of Russian Impressionism and the bold, faceted forms of Symbolist painting. In providing a context, author Rosalind P. Blakesley looks in the first and second chapters at the portrait tradition in Russia: the rise of secular portrait painting following the founding of the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg in 1757; the shifting tastes of patrons and publics; the reception of portraits in exhibitions and collections (including those of the tsars); and the role of portraiture in the cultural politics of imperial Russia. Starting with the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867, at which a distinct Russian school of painting was recognised for the first time, the third chapter examines developments in theatre and music, the rising Realist aesthetic and the powerful voices of wealthy patrons from the worlds of industry and commerce, such as Pavel Tretyakov. Chapter Four looks at the rise of novel forms of visual expression through experimentation, from Impressionism to Symbolism, and the World of Art Movement, with its conscious reconnection with artistic developments in the West. The last chapter charts creative responses to political turmoil and social unrest in the early twentieth century, the new artistic societies and manifestos of the avant-garde and the dialogue between figurative painting and abstraction in the twilight of imperial rule.
Despite this famous protestation in a letter to his friend William Jackson, Gainsborough was clearly prepared to make an exception when it came to making portraits of his own family and himself. This book, and the major exhibition it accompanies, features a dozen portraits of his daughters Mary and Margaret, the same number of himself and his wife Margaret (though, perhaps tellingly, only one of the couple together), as well as works depicting four of his five siblings, his handsome nephew Gainsborough Dupont (who became his studio assistant) , an aunt and uncle, several in - laws and – last, but not least – his beloved dogs, Tristram and Fox. Spanning more than four decades, Gainsborough’s family portraits chart the period from the mid - 1740s, when he plied his trade in his native Suffolk , through his time in Bath ( 1758 – 74 ), when he established hi mself with a rich and fashionable clientele , to his most successful latter years at his luxuriously appointed studio in London’s We st End. Alongside this story of a provincial 18th - century artist’s rise to fame and fortune runs a more private narrative, ab out the role of portraiture in the promotion of family values, at a time when these were assuming a recogni s ably modern form. In the first of three introductory essays, David H. Solkin writes on Gainsborough himself, placing his family portraits in the context of earlier practice – including that of the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens and British portraitists from Mary Beale to Joseph Highmore. Ann Bermingham explores Gainsborough’s portraits of his daughters, with particular reference to two finished double portraits painted seven years apart and the tragic story arising from them. Susan Sloman discusses Margaret’s role as her husband’s business manager, its effect on the family dynamic and hence the visual representation of its members.
From first to last, Picasso’s prime subject was the human figure and portraiture remained a favourite genre. His earliest portraits were done from life and reveal a precocious ability to catch likeness and suggest character and state of mind. B y 1900 Picasso was producing portraits of astonishing variety and thereafter they reflected the full range of his innovative styles – symbolist, cubist, neoclassica l, surrealist, expressionist. B ut however extreme his departur e from representational conventions, Picasso never wholly abandoned drawing from the sitter or ceased producing portraits of classic beauty and naturalism. For all his radical originality, Picasso remained in constant dialogue with the art of the past and his portraits often alluded to canonical masterpieces, chosen for their appropriateness to the looks and personality of his subject. Treating favourite Old Masters as indecorously as his intimate friends, he enjoyed caricaturing them and indulging in fant asies about their sex lives that mirrored his own obsession with the interaction of eroticism and creativity. His late suites of free ‘ variations ’ after Velбzquez’s Las Meninas and Rembrandt’s The Prodigal Son , both of which involve self - portraiture, allow ed him to ruminate on the complex psychological relationship of artist and sitter, and continu ities between past and present. When Picasso depicted people in his intimate circle, the nature of his bond with them inevitably influenced his interpretation. T he focus of this book is not, however, Picasso’s life story but his creative process, and, although following a broadly chronological path, its chapters are structured thematically. Issues addressed in depth include Picasso’s exploitation of familiar pose s and formats, his sources of inspiration and identification with favourite Old Masters, the role of caricature in his expressive conception of portraiture, the relationship between observation, memory and fantasy, critical differences between his portray al of men and women, and the motivation behind his defiance of decorum and the extreme transformation of his sitter’s appearance.