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