As I was preparing this blog post, my husband leaned over my shoulder and asked "What do you mean by psychological portraits?" Well, I pointed out..."look at that girl's face and the tension in her fingers and toes, she looks like she just finished a tantrum. Contrast that to her brother, whose wrist is bent and limply perched on the rug. He peers at you with a know it all stare and disdain..you are not sure if the disdain is meant for you or his sister."
Then I added, "Look at the way he painted the parents! The father's shirt isn't even tucked in... he could have easily have told his patron to tuck in the shirt but he painted him that way anyway. And look at his sourpuss wife," I continued, "he even left in the frown lines around the corners of her mouth and the tightly pursed lips."
"Great" my husband replied, "Now I won't have to read the blog post."
The hidden truth behind every successful portrait
The exhibition, "Sargent, Portraits of Artists and Friends" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( you can see it through October 4, 2015) truly knocked my socks off. Having painted dozens of portraits through the years, the choices made by this painter always speaks to me. What made this exhibition unique, however, is that many of the paintings included were not commissioned portraits which allowed the artist to freely express his vision without worrying about the wrath of the paying patron. Moreover, every successful portrait will include psychological clues to its sitter.
This was a large exhibit and I have a lot to say about it and I will not even attempt to do it all justice in one blog post, so this will be the first of a series of blog posts covering my interpretations of the art and how his art has influenced my art as many of these paintings I had seen before in other shows and in different contexts.
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