Looking at portraits is a way to explore different kinds of artwork and examine the transiency and relevancy of human existence.
What do artists' portraits make you think about?
How would you describe the sitters? What are they doing? What do you think they are feeling or thinking?
When looking at a portrait of someone or group of people, what connections do you make with your own personal experiences and memories?
Cover page, detail, Steven Dohanos, Big Game of the Season (1946), oil
Have any of you ever had your portrait painted, drawn or taken with a camera? How did it feel?
What are some of the things you thought about beforehand? What clothes to wear? Where to sit? Should I smile, or not? How long do I need to sit or stand still?
What did the people really look like? What were their names? What was their personality like?
For centuries, artists have used portraits to capture the likeness and character of individuals, from historical & famous figures to family members to neighbors & those from everyday life.
Artists may create portraits from direct experience with the sitter. Often, they incorporate "clues" to the subject's identity, status, occupation and location.
Or, they may choose to capture distinctive facial expressions, gestures or setting as added personal references.
Artists may also push the boundaries of traditional portraiture by challenging the notion that they must realistically depict the individual.
What do you see? How does the artist use line, color, and space in these portraits?
A self-portrait is a likeness that an artist produces of themselves. Is it the same as a selfie?
Although we look very different from one another, the placement of our features (eyes, nose, mouth, ears and parts of the face) is similar.
By knowing where these features are on your face, you can observe and draw a self-portrait too. GIVE IT A TRY!
Take your time and look closely at your unique features (perhaps in a mirror), then try drawing what you see!
Experiment & be creative in expressing your individuality in the portrait of yourself!
Courtesy, Westport Public Art Collections, Town of Westport, CT