People have always liked to have images of family members.
In the last decade, digital camera’s have revolutionised both the ease and cost of capturing images of your family for posterity.
Camera’s have become affordable and easy to use.
Between the evolution of the camera and the internet, the Digital Age has made “photographers” and “journalists” of us all.
(…or so many of us would like to think LOL).
The wish to have and leave a tangible reminder of our human presence has always been with us, around the world we find representation of people in cave art and sculpted in stone.
Before the camera was invented, the medium of choice was the Painted Portrait.
Clearly you had to be a person of means in order to have one, but it was a specialised niche that kept artists employed for centuries long.
Ammersoyen Castle has it’s fair share of portraits…
…most of them pertain to it’s more recent past as far as counting the centuries go, and these items often spent time in other castles or safe havens in times of political, social or personal upheaval.
These paintings made me smile. Naturally members of the same family often bear a striking resemblance to each other, but I get two feelings from these paintings…
First.. this painter is more interested in painting finery than faces… rightly or wrongly I get the impression that it’s even possible that the dresses were painted first and the heads added later, the silver dress even appears to have been semi “recycled” in two different portraits.
(Yes, apparently these are all different people!)
That said, the quality of the painting in the dresses is undisputed.
Secondly… I get the impression that the artist “did” pretty much only one sort of face.
Probably the sameness of the hair styles combined with family resemblances accentuates this, but I giggled a bit as I saw them all since they were so similar.
These days important events in life are swiftly documented, be it delight or disaster, anyone with a pocket point-and-shoot or even a mobile telephone can record an event often in the moments of highest drama.
Even if these portraits make me smile, I can appreciate that unlike today, the “masses” of many time in history wouldn’t have a hope of making an image like this.
Portrait painting is today still very much a very niche market, and the Art of sitting for a family image like this is in danger of being an experience that even fewer of our generation, or those who follow will ever experience.
I think that’s a little sad, both for the sitters and the Artists.