Contacting a body ‘from life’: historiated portraiture and the artist/model/sitter transaction in portrait production.
Working 'from life' remains a core component in undergraduate Fine Arts curricula and in the provisions for major portrait awards. The phrase indicates an immediate material encounter between observed bodies-artist and model-in the studio. The characterisation of the model as a sitter resonates with concerns about portrait production, figuratism and posing. Contained within this discourse are the contemporary historiated portraits that intentionally destabilise the artist/model/sitter transaction. The historiated portrait (portrait histori驠is a deliberate construction in which a model is portrayed in disguise. Historiated portraiture, through masquerade and dissimulation, accords the artist a specific strategy to expose the pretence implicit in the model/sitter transaction. Through the survey of contemporary historiated portraiture, and a practice in which I construct such portraits, it becomes possible to confront the counterfeit in portraits 'from life'.
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Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting)