Formal portraits are traditionally painted with the subject modeling for the artist and therefore usually sitting. Usually the word “portrait” conjures up a static, passive facsimile of a person, sometimes smiling but usually humorless. I look to a different tradition, starting with Goya, continuing with Degas, Eakins, Sargent, Picasso, Neel, Freud, Close, Hockney and many, many others who ask portraits to speak in various ways about the subject beside their physical appearance. My version of the “formal portrait” seeks to describe the sitter by all the ways a person presents him or herself and to identify traits that have been part of that person since their youngest years.
(tap detail for full image)