Portraiture and the Fictions of the Pose

Harry Berger Jr.

in Manhood, Marriage, and Mischief

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780823225569
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240937 | DOI:
Portraiture and the Fictions of the Pose

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What Jesper Svenbro says of the amphora applies to the painted portrait in that both outlast their creators. But portraiture involves not only the painter and the painting; it also involves the patron and the sitter. The redundancy or recursiveness of this statement is its most important property because it reminds us that the act of portrayal in which painter and sitter collaborate is an example of what Victor Stoichita calls a “metapictorial act,” an act of representing representation. Portraits are often defined, understood, and written about as pictures of somebody. David R. Smith views portraits as personae, “masks of identity and celebrations of social ritual.” Unlike candid photographs, they “reflect moments of selfconscious encounter with other human beings.” The act of posing may itself be a socially charged performance, an indicator of success.

Keywords: portrait; portraiture; patron; sitter; painter; painting; metapictorial act; personae; pose; David Smith

Chapter.  4216 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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