Sunday, August 5, 2012

Portraying Character

Russian portraitist Valentin Serov (1865-1911) once said: “Any human face is so complex and so unique that you can always find in it various traits that are worth portraying, be they good or bad.” 

“For my part,” he continued, “each time I appraise a person’s face, I am inspired—you might even say carried away—not by his or her outer aspect, which is often trivial, but by the characterization it can be given on canvas.

"That is why I am accused sometimes of having my portraits look like caricatures.” 

Valentin Serov, Portrait of Princess Olga Orlova, 1911. 

Quote is from a new book on Valentin Serov 


Keith Parker said...

Are these both of the same woman? It looks like it to me.

James Gurney said...

Keith, yes, they're both Olga Orlova. I reminds me of Sargent trying different drawings of Madame X before he did his famous painting.

jane said...

As interesting as always.

By the way, you may already know this, but I came across your name reading King John by Shakespeare the other day (the joys of Kindle) - there is a quite interesting blog post about the name - which includes possible derivations for the name.