Author Topic: Portrait of an Extremely Powerful Florentine Merchant  (Read 2632 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Portrait of an Extremely Powerful Florentine Merchant
« on: June 23, 2012, 05:30:06 AM »
Portrait of an Extremely Powerful Florentine Merchant



Cummer presents "Bartolomeo Compagni" painted by Pier Francesco de Jacopo Foschi in 1549, over 450 years ago. This painting was a commissioned portrait of a powerful Florentine Merchant that lived in London during the reign of Henry VIII. Compagni's trading empire stretched beyond Russia and he was often utilized as a "fundraiser" for English war efforts.

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AshleyLauren

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Re: Portrait of an Extremely Powerful Florentine Merchant
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 02:48:03 PM »
I have one question. Is a portrait considered art? Yes, Mona Lisa is one of the most well-known pieces of art in the world, but is a portrait really art? There is not artistic expression used when painting a simple portrait, just canvas and paint and a painter. Is that the key? A well known artist painted it therefore it is art? So today a digital portrait is artwork. Or perhaps, I just dont see the value in this painting and I am looking for a purpose that is not there.

CummerMuseum

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Re: Portrait of an Extremely Powerful Florentine Merchant
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2012, 04:04:10 PM »
Portraiture is actually a very old form of art.  As a matter of fact, for the majority of art history, art was not based on the personal expression of the artist, but on an academic training in art.  Art has primarily been considered the competent use of tools - i.e. paint, brushes, clay, stone, chisels, charcoal, camera, etc... to represent something.  It has little to do with the notoriety of the artist, and much more to do with the skill and the process.  Artistic expression and the concept of art for arts sake, is really a 20th century invention.  This is not to say that artistic expression and the creative choice of the artist was not a part of art before this, it simply was not given the same attention we give it today. 

The type of portraiture in the above example was very common in the centuries before the camera.  These types of portraits were a way to document a person's personality, status, and interests, as well as how they looked at a given time in life.  Family trees were documented, the growth of children, important life events, and sometimes even death.  There is much to learn about culture and history from portraits, as well as the personality of the sitter.

As for your question about digital portraits as artwork, I challenge you to look through the work of local photographers.  You will notice a huge variance in the level of skill in posing, lighting, scenery, and artistic expression through the medium.  To take it one step further, compare the pictures of these photographers, especially the better among them, to a generic photo studio or a home snapshot taken by a family member. 


ben says

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Re: Portrait of an Extremely Powerful Florentine Merchant
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2012, 04:12:42 PM »
I have one question. Is a portrait considered art? Yes, Mona Lisa is one of the most well-known pieces of art in the world, but is a portrait really art? There is not artistic expression used when painting a simple portrait, just canvas and paint and a painter. Is that the key? A well known artist painted it therefore it is art? So today a digital portrait is artwork. Or perhaps, I just dont see the value in this painting and I am looking for a purpose that is not there.

Ah...the age old question that will probably never be answered and whereby no two people will ever agree: What is art?
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AshleyLauren

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Re: Portrait of an Extremely Powerful Florentine Merchant
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 11:40:26 AM »
Cummer,

I am not an artist (at all). I have taken a few Art History courses and that is the extent of my artistic training, but to consider art the process rather than the product, the tools used rather than the artist using the tools is an interesting concept. And perhaps one that only artists would appreciate. Thanks for the response and I will do what you recommended.