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Displaying items by tag: Portraiture

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City will present Diego Velázquez’s (1599-1660) Portrait of Duke Francesco l d’Este, one of the most important portraits by the Spanish painter, through July 16, 2013. The painting is on loan from Italy’s prestigious Galleria Estense in Modena and has never traveled to the United States before. The exhibition, Velázquez’s Portrait of Duke Francesco l d’Este: A Masterpiece from the Galleria Estense, Modena, will coincide with the opening of the Met’s renovated New European Painting Gallery, 1250-1800.

Velázquez, the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV, painted d’Este, the Duke of Modena and Reggio Emilia, while he was visiting Madrid in 1638 to meet with King Philip and ask for his support. The commanding portrait of the 17th century ruler is a key work of baroque portraiture as well as a prime example of Velázquez’s artistic contribution to Spanish diplomacy.

The Galleria Estense acquired the portrait of d’Este in 1843 where it joined works by Tintoretto (1518-1594), El Greco (1541-1614), and Paolo Veronese (1528-1588). The museum also boasts a strong collection of decorative works, musical instruments, archaeological material, and sculptures. The Galleria was damaged in 2012 when a series of earthquakes struck the region of Emilia-Romagna. Restoration of the building has begun but will require years of repair. In the meantime, while many of the museum’s works are being held at the Ducal Palace in Sassuolo, Velázquez’s portrait will make a highly anticipated appearance to New York.

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Fine Lines: American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum is now on view at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. The exhibition presents over 100 drawings and sketchbooks from the museum’s collection, many of which have rarely been seen.

Fine Lines features works created between 1768 and 1945 and includes drawings by more than 70 artists such as John Singleton Copley (1738-1815), Stuart Davis (1892-1964), Thomas Eakins (1844-1916), William Glackens (1870-1938), Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Eastman Johnson (1824-1906), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), and John Singer Sargent (1856-1925).

Fine Lines is organized into six categories and draws connections between artists from varying periods and artistic styles. Topics explored in the six sections are portraiture; the nude; the clothed figure; narrative subjects; natural landscapes; urban landscapes; and conservation techniques.

Fine Lines will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum through May 26, 2013.

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Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has joined forces with the Art Gallery of Ontario to present the exhibition Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting. The show, which features approximately 140 works by the Mexican modernists Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1996-1957), includes works from Mexico’s Museo Dolores Olmedo, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art, and the Galeria Arvil. The works are presented in pairs based on chronology and theme including Mexican identity, maternity, and portraiture.

Kahlo and Rivera, who married in 1929, were known for their tumultuous relationship as well as their involvement in Mexican politics and culture. Frida & Diego aims to take the focus off of the personal lives and explore the ways in which they influenced each other as artists.

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting will be on view through May 12, 2013. The High Museum of Art is the only museum in the U.S. to host the exhibition, which is the largest presentation of the couple’s art ever to appear together.


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Manet: Portraying Life opens on January 26, 2013 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The first exhibition to focus solely on French Impressionist Edouard Manet’s (1832-1883) portraits, Portraying Life has already sold more advanced tickets than the museum’s blockbuster Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) exhibition in 2010. Certain timed ticket entrances have sold out entirely.

The show, which took six years to organize, spans Manet’s entire career and features works from Europe, Asia, and the United States. Portraying Life is comprised of 50 paintings and a few pastels and includes portraits of Manet’s favorite sitters such as his wife, Suzanne Leenhoff (1829-1906), and luminaries from the time period including Antonin Proust (1832-1905) and Émile Zola (1840-1902). Manet, who often painted family, friends, and important political as well as artistic figures, invigorated scenes of everyday life with his modern and progressive approach to portraiture.

While Portraying Manet is expected to be a hit show, there has been a hiccup in plans. London’s snowy weather has left one painting stranded in Brazil’s São Paulo airport; the portrait of Mademoiselle Marie Lefébure is awaiting flight clearance before it can be exhibited at the Royal Academy. Sadly, the painting was not present at the press preview on January 22, 2013, which included VIP guests, patrons, and sponsors. Officials hope the work will arrive in time for exhibition’s public opening on Saturday.

Manet: Portraying Life will be on view through April 14, 2013.  

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There was a time when Anthony Van Dyck’s Isabella, Lady de La Warr was considered one of the most important paintings at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Purchased in 1930 for $121,440 by the MFA donor, Mrs. Frederick T. Bradbury, the work went on view in the Hamilton Palace period room. It wasn’t until the 1980s when the painting went into storage that Isabella’s future started to look bleak.

When Malcolm Rogers rediscovered Isabella not long after he took over as the MFA’s director in 1994, he found the painting’s surface was discolored from protective varnishes and shoddy retouching had left the work with mismatched paint. Painted by the Flemish artist in 1638 during a stay in England, Rogers knew that Isabella could be recovered. A technical examination in 2011 reinforced Rogers’ belief.

The painting underwent nearly a year of restoration by the MFA’s paintings conservator, Rhona MacBeth and has just been installed in the MFA’s newly renovated Koch Gallery. Depicting an elegant woman, the wife of Lord Henry who served as a diplomat and treasurer of one of Van Dyck’s most famous subjects, England’s King Charles I, the painting is an excellent example of aristocratic portraiture that was in high demand by American collectors during the first few decades of the 20th century.

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Thursday, 16 June 2011 01:39

About Face: Portraiture as Subject

Artists have explored the human face since ancient times. About Face: Portraiture as Subject at the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, gathers together a choice selection of portraits in diverse mediums and across a range of time periods to examine how personality and character are portrayed in art. Forty works by leading artists known for their probing investigations of the genre are featured, among them, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, John Singer Sargent, Diego Rivera, Sir Jacob Epstein, Antonio Berni, Alice Neel, Chuck Close, Robert Henri, Andy Warhol, Yasumasa Morimura, Oscar Muñoz, and Kehinde Wiley.

The works in About Face are organized into related groupings that examine both historical and contemporary notions of portraiture in a suite of small, elegant galleries that enhance the intimacy between artwork and visitor, portrait subject and viewer. Groupings suggest general concepts that unite the seven or eight varied works within each cluster: Capturing the Likeness; Exploring Attributes; Multiple Parts Accumulating to Complex Wholes; and How Artists Portray Themselves. Programs featuring the exhibition’s images on several social networking sites explore their common focus on constructing and communicating personae to a broad public. About Face gives the museum a lively voice in that current conversation and suggests that works of art still have much to teach us, even when placed within deceptively simple frameworks, like portraiture.
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