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]
When the House of Commons required a portrait of outgoing PM Tony Blair, to whom did they turn? Phil Hale. [more inside]
The National Potrait Gallery held a competition for new entries into the gallery. The winner is a fabulous painting by David Lenz. There is a great deal of focus in the exhibit of imagery that is truthful, but not necessarily flattering. The winner is both truthful and flattering. Lenz's subject is is his son, who has Down syndrome. The title, "Sam and the Perfect World" is quite poignant. There is a long NPR program covering the entire topic of portaiture in general and this portrait specifically.
Simon Hoegsberg's latest project involved stopping passersby and asking what they were thinking at exactly that moment. These are their thoughts and portraits.