Saturday, 27 March 2010

Art making history- but no story

John Singer Sargent is one of the most famous American artists of fine de siecle and one of the most famous portraitists ever. And this portrait, of Gertrude Vernon, or Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, was his big break. I "met" Lady Agnew in the National Gallery of Scotland of Edinburgh, where she resides, and I have never forgotten her.
Of course, it is a beautiful portrait, where the colours and shapes .. work. And I do love the way I can sense the softness of the fabrics, and the luxuriosness of silk. But, what makes this an outstanding portrait for me is the personality that shows. There is pride and confidence, but I also see humour and this definitely is not a boring person, there is a lot of character. I would wage that there is a story behind this painting and that the woman in it could not have lived an ordinary life. But, from the depth of www, her claim to fame, in life and a century later - is this portrait. And come to think of it- that is not bad in terms of legacy.

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