Portrait art, the first image that rushes to our minds is the mysterious smile of Mona Lisa done by Leonardo da Vinci. But a portrait can be done in the form of sculpture, painting or more recently; photography. There can be a wide range of portraits from the classic portrait of an individual, a group or a self portrait. All the great artists have indulged in individual portraits like were commissioned by the rich of the society to project one’s ownership over another human be it the beautiful wife incase like the Mona Lisa or the son or some exquisite piece of property, heirloom, or any specific piece that highlights one’s wealth and status.
Here are a few types of portraits:
The different type of portraits comes from different time era, revealing the social and cultural impressions of any society. The types might differ according to the time and age but the reasons have remained the same even to date: self projection through religion, money, power, status.
Religious portraits: The great artists were commissioned by the church to portray the biblical stories, gods, goddesses, the Christ, Madonna etc. the perfection of these priceless classics were dependent upon the emotions replicated by the artists in the reference.
Historical portraits: Roman emperors, Egyptian pharaohs, kings, Vatican and later on the elders of the times commissioned portraits to announce their status among the higher segment of the society.
Celebrity portraits: As the time evolved so did our society and its values and morals. They once were considered the jesters of the court or the dancers or any other form of entertainers are the new era divas or the celebrities. Thus the essence captured of the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Charlie Chaplin makes them timeless.
Nudity and portraits: Nudity that was in the earlier ages define the artist’s depth, their silent perception to capture the minute details of the nature’s finest; the male and the female’s bodies. Thus the famous nudes like the sleeping Venus, la Grande odalisque. However with times these reasons for nude portals have shifted from perception to freedom of self expression. The internet is flooded with the nude pictures of celebrities.
Contemporary art- self portrait…. The philosophy
Portraying self, as an image that truly encompasses the whole of your being in the most liberated genre, could begin to explain concept of self portraiture in contemporary art.
The self portrait gives the artist the freedom it demands to develop the thought as imagined by the great mind. Self consciousness remains at the bottom of the self portrait food chain in the modern world.
Self portraits have become the voice of the poor, the suppressed and the other two thirds of the world raising the voice for self expression, freedom of speech, equal rights, feminism, environment and tolerance.
It translates the scope into a visual autobiography or mirrors the identity issues either in a metaphorical or literal background, depicting a fantasy or a hard cold fact.
Therefore the philosophy that entails self portraits in contemporary art is the everlasting human wish since Adam, to make one immortal to live forever. So, capturing own image to shout out for a cause or simply to be, takes us to a degree closer to that yen.
Self portrait…. Selfie
The core remains the same, self projection; although the medium has changed through time, starting with a paint brush, adding colors, then the knowledge of manipulating substances like bronze, silver, marble, and then adding lights into the whole affect and finally the swish of a finger. The Selfie has become a medium for a simple self photograph to remember a moment to making a statement be it a political or social one. For example when David Cameron or Justin Trudeau takes a Selfie or Madonna, Miley Cyrus taking Selfie, participating in the million march against Donald trump.