It's a magic trick, capturing the essence of an individual using paint and a flat surface. It's quite the illusion. I admit that I am dazzled by anyone's ability to do it.
Here are some of the portraits I've been attracted to. A few of them are by modernists who were active during the 1960s. They were the painters who were working during my teen years. What an impact they made on me. These paintings and drawings opened up my world living in suburban Warwick, Rhode Island.
For some reason, it ended up that most of the portraits I'm sharing here have either been done by women or are of women. I notice, too, that I'm apparently fascinated by figures seated in chairs. My current paintings-in-progress have these elements in them, so that's probably the reason why.
I prefer to look at the beautifully drawn portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger than the final paintings produced from those studies. They are more spontaneous as drawings to me. When I look at his drawing of King Henry VIII shown here, so much is being exposed to me about this notorious English king and who he was during his middle to later years. His puffy eyes with their crow's feet, his bloated face and his tiny, pursed mouth recall nothing of his younger, early golden kinghood. Here he seems the infamous tyrant which he had, by the time this portrait was taken, become.
My special favorites are the portraits by Alice Neel, for me the most honest portrait painter of the "moderns".
Enjoy these beautiful portraits.
(From top to bottom)
1. Portrait of Vivienne Wechter, 1965
2. Portrait of Armand Roulin (The Yellow Jacket), 1888
Vincent Van Gogh
3. Elizabeth in a Red Chair, 1961
4. Berthe Morisot Self Portrait, 1885
5. Study for Portrait of King Henry VIII, circa 1536
Hans Holbein the Younger
6. Clement Greenberg's Daughter, 1967
7. Portrait of Madame Canals, 1905