Incorruptible Teeth, or, the French Smile Revolution
In 1787, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, painter to France’s royal and aristocratic elite, displayed a canvas at the Paris Salon. It was a self-portrait depicting the artist in an affectionate embrace with her daughter. Vigée-Lebrun is smiling—a sweet, broad smile revealing white teeth. There is little about this pose that seems in any way exceptional, yet exception was furiously taken. “An affectation which artists, art-lovers and persons of taste have been united in condemning,” wrote an anonymous commentator, “and which finds no precedent amongst the Ancients, is that in smiling she shows her teeth. This affectation is particularly out of place in a mother.”How the smile came to Paris (briefly), aka Grin City. [more inside]
In the aftermath of one of the strangest political scandals ever to plague the mayor of a major North American city, Rob Ford oversees the unveiling of a high-profile portrait of himself by a sitting councilor, made at the request of Ford's mother. The artist describes the piece as complex, but a lot remains unsaid regarding the weight Ford's personality carries into the realm of portrait.
The original time-lapse self portrait? And some modern artists: Enchanting self portraits from Iceland's Rebekka Gaudleifs. Nude self portrait (NSFW) from Israeli artist Roni River. Disturbing stories from Canada's projecteye (NSFW) and magical self-portrait from New Hampshire-based Sarah Ann Loreth.
Many people who paint portraits try to make the painting look like a living person. Alexa Meade tries to make the person look like a painting. [more inside]
When the House of Commons required a portrait of outgoing PM Tony Blair, to whom did they turn? Phil Hale. [more inside]
Ever wondered what it is like to have your portrait painted? How would you pose ... "sidelong glance, coy grin, gazing into the distance, serious and stylish"? Here's an interesting perspective on the subject, describing the process start to finish, written by a sitter, but published on the website of the painter, together with his added commentary on the process. And how did the subject like his finished portrait? "In a word, the painting makes me uncomfortable. ... It must be a terrific portrait." (via)