A Commissioned Portrait in the Ancient Tradition
A portrait commissioned by a woman as a surprise gift for her husband, and what this has to do with the ancient origins of painting itself.
According to the legend described by Roman Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) in his Natural History, the art of painting was invented by the potter Butades in Corinth:
“It was through his daughter that he made the discovery; who, being deeply in love with a young man about to depart on a long journey, traced the profile of his face, as thrown upon the wall by the light of the lamp. Upon seeing this, her father filled in the outline, by compressing clay upon the surface, and so made a face in relief, which he then hardened by fire along with other articles of pottery.”
Not only does this myth describe the birth of painting, but it sets portraiture — with relief — as its primary form.
More interestingly, portrait painting springs up from the need to fill a void, to avert the absence of a loved one. Portraits play the role of substitutes. They are living testimonies of relationships.
This specific portrait was commissioned to me by a woman as a surprise gift for her husband — the model — for Christmas.
Many people commission me works for their loved ones. It struck me how strong is the tie between portrait painting and love relationships, as if both went hand in hand.
For more information about commissions, get in touch with me.
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