What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound than a portrait? - Charles Baudelaire
The human urge to immortalize its likeness is as old as the emergence of civilization: the Ancient Greek immortalized important figures in marble and stone, where Ancient Egyptian portraiture flourished from about 5,000 years ago. Before the invention of photography, painting, sculpting, and drawing were the only ways to record someone’s appearance.
However, portraits have always been more than just a record. Expressing the individual identity of the model, they capture a personality rather than a person. Traditionally, portraits have been used to display the sitter’s wealth, power, importance, virtue, beauty, taste, or learning.
Soon after its invention in 1839, photography triggered a shift in the long-standing tradition of capturing the human image, and grew into the most important medium of traditional portraiture. Starting with pictures taken for pragmatic or sentimental reasons, portrait photography has evolved from a means for self-presentation into a multifaceted genre that shows engagement, empathy and experimentation - a transformation that still continues today.
With The Portrait, The Ravestijn Gallery brings an ode to the portrayal of the human image. From traditional and documentary to more surprising and unconventional ways of representing likeness, and from honest and revealing to more elusive interpretations of the genre. Included are works by Blommers & Schumm (NL), Fake Shamus (US), Inez & Vinoodh (NL/US), Michael Bailey-Gates (US), Robin de Puy (NL), Patrick Waterhouse (UK), Koos Breukel (NL) and Pacifico Silano (US), Asger Carlsen (DK).