Portraiture

This page lets you go deeper into the exhibitions by presenting the artworks with thoughtful questions, additional historical and art historical information, and interesting comparisons.

All supplementary material for the “Portraiture” is on this page. Scroll to find the image and content you’re looking for.

Sarah Miriam Peale, Portrait of Patience Cole Cortland

Sarah Miriam Peale (1800-1885), Portrait of Patience Cole Cortland, c.1840, oil on canvas, 45 3/16 x 37 7/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Millard Duxbury.

Dorothy Weir Young "Theresa and Tommy"

Dorothy Weir Young (1890-1947), Theresa and Tommy, c.1932, oil on canvas, 27 1/8 x 34 1/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.

A painting of a person is called a portrait. Before the invention of the camera people had to sit or stand still for hours at a time, perhaps over the course of several days to have their portrait painted. We can often learn much about a person from their portrait.
Can you tell when each of these women lived?
What details help you answer the question?
Can you determine their status in society?

The style of portraits changes over time. In the 19th century, having a portrait painted was an expensive luxury, but by the 1930s, it was significantly less expensive. Photography radically changed art. The advancements that took place in photographic technology and quality by 1930 made capturing a “portrait” common, frequent, and affordable. This democratization of the portrait inadvertently inspired a more causal attitude and appearance by the subject.

Who looks like they are posing? Who looks more casual?
How do you pose when you know you are having your picture taken?
If you could only have one portrait/photograph of yourself, how would you want to be remembered? How would you dress? How would you pose? Would you pose with a pet?

 

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