Horace, the 1st century BC Roman lyric poet, made the following remark in his Epistles, II,i: Suspendit picta vultum mentemque tabella (translated from the Latin to English = “In painting he shows both the face and the mind”
What are your expectations when you confront portraiture in painting or sculpture? What mark or marks must the artist hit to reach your demands on success within the realm of portraiture? Just today, there was a formal reception in Washington, D. C. as the National Portrait Gallery unveiled the portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Kehinde Wiley was the American artist who captured former President Obama’s portrait and Amy Sherald was the American artist who captured former First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait. As we begin to look at our colonial painters, especially John Singleton Copley, strive to fix into visible form the images of patrons in their time, the task of confronting the complexities of both the face and the mind are brought to the forefront. Did Copley, Wiley and Sherald succeed within your value system?
Amy Sherald, Portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama (2018) and Kehinde Wiley, Portrait of President Barack Obama (2018)
John Singleton Copley, Boy with a Squirrel, 1763