‘Portrayal and the Search for Identity’ by Prof Marcia Pointon

Marcia Pointon, 'Portrayal and the search for identity'. Reaktion Books, 2012

In Portrayal and the Search for Identity, Marcia Pointon investigates how we view and understand portraiture as a genre, and how portraits function as artworks within social and political networks. Likeness is never a straightforward matter as we rarely have the subject of a portrait as a point of comparison. Featuring familiar canonical portraits as well as little-known works, Portrayal seeks to unsettle notions of portraiture as an art of convention, a reassuring reflection of social realities. Readers are instead invited to consider how identity is produced pictorially, and where likeness is registered apart from in a face. In exploring these issues, the author addresses wide-ranging challenges, such as the construction of masculinity in dress, representations of slaves, and self-portraiture in relation to mortality.

Published by Reaktion Books, December 2012. Further details.

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