A painted portrait becomes a treasure
In the past few years I have had the good fortune to visit the British National Gallery, the British Portrait Gallery, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Chicago Institute of Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art, amongst others. Seeing exceptional art in person can be a life-changing experience, both humbling and inspiring.
Portraits were everywhere: in every era, every style, every color, every size and media, from every country and created by every type of artist. Paintings of friends, patrons, family, clients, the artists themselves, people from every station of life, each one truly a work of art. The sitter and the artist open a window on another time and the best create an electric sense of connection and appreciation.
Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Hans Holbein's Henry VIII, van Gogh and Rembrandt's many self-portraits, these are just a few of the well-known portraits that have come down to us through the ages. Their popularity and longevity is testimony to the power and value of capturing personality, character, and aspect, on canvas. In a portrait's brushstrokes we find a path connecting us to another human on a timeless level.
Oil paint captures the living qualities of the human face and body like no other medium. Skillfully handled, the portrait transcends technique and draws the viewer in. A single artist, striving to create a statement about the individual before them, creates a treasure for us all.