Monday, April 21, 2008

The Portrait of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Mifflin

I recently received a request that I give a little more information about my paintings of the week (or month, depending on how often I blog!) So from now on I will try to meet this request.

I realized, when I posted this painting it was an unusual choice and that full appreciation required an explaination. I am sorry I did not given one sooner.

I first saw this painting by John Singleton Copley (sorry for the previous misattribution) about a year ago at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was not initially captured by this painting, but upon closer inspection I was swept away by Copley's highly finished style and stunningly detailed representation of the young couple. When I first looked at the painting all I saw was a handsom man and a cold, rather unattractive looking woman. But Copley's careful depiction of the couple communicated so much more than just their phyical characteristics. As the Philadelphia Museum says "Here, Copley depicts not only the features and costumes of his sitters with his famed skill, but creates an image of marriage as an affectionate, equal partnership-an innovative concept in American portraiture at the time." He translated onto the canvas the deep care, devotion, love and kinship felt by this couple - all of which is communicated through the relationship of their hands.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008