QUESTIONS

1) Define the word 'Portrait'
2) Before photography, why do you think people would have their portraits painted or sculpted?
3) What were some of the things the painter or sculpture could do that the camera could not?
4) If you commissioned an artist to paint/photograph you, describe how you would want to be portrayed. Include your choice of props, lighting, the setting, pose etc. and the reasons behind them.
5) Look at the painted portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. Use the structural Frame to examine the signs, symbols and visual codes the artist has used in the work to convey meaning to the audience about the sitter? (Visual codes/symbols/signs include things like lighting, viewpoint, facial expression, environment or props, gaze.)
Marcus Gheeraerts: 'Queen Elizabeth I'
1592
Gheeraerts_Elizabeth_I_The_Ditchley_Portrait_c1592.jpg


Jan Van Eyck:
Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife, 1434
1434_Jan_van_Eyck_Giovanni_Arnolfini_and_his_Bride-wr400.jpg
This portrait was commissioned by the wealthy Italian banker, Arnolfini who was working and living in Bruges, Van Eyck’s home town in Belgium or Flanders. It is a portrait that is like a document that records the marriage of Arnolfini. Throughout the portrait there are many symbols that indicate that the sanctity of the marriage – hand of Arnolfini taking his bride and the other raised in blessing, the lighted candle and the shoes removed signifying the presence of the Holy Spirit, the whisk broom on the bedhead symbolising the wife’s domestic role, the statue of St Margaret, patron saint of childbirth near the broom and the dog symbolising faithfulness. Beneath the candelabra is Van Eyck’s signature and he is shown in the mirror behind the couple as the witness to the marriage.

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