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    “Propria figura”: The advent of facsimile portraiture in Italian art

    Jacobus, Laura (2017) “Propria figura”: The advent of facsimile portraiture in Italian art. The Art Bulletin 99 (2), pp. 72-101. ISSN 0004-3079.

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    Abstract

    Two portraits of Enrico Scrovegni, patron of the Arena Chapel, are ‘facsimile portraits’ made in the early decades of the fourteenth century; that is to say that they exploit mechanical means of reproduction with the intention of capturing and recreating exact physical likeness. Close visual analysis establishes the use of life casts, and shows how the sculptors responded to the new technology. The resulting portraits seem to contradict prevailing ideas about medieval concepts of likeness, and prompt revision of accepted histories of medieval and renaissance portraits. Arising from a confluence of intellectual and artistic impulses in Padua c.1300, the two portraits express the particular historical consciousness of that time and place. However, they also introduce a benchmark of physical accuracy in portraiture which endured beyond those specific historical circumstances, and they demonstrate the persistence of artistic style in even the most objectively accurate portraits. The advent of facsimile portraiture has implications for our understanding of likeness as a variable element in all subsequent portraiture.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): art history, humanism, padua, renaissance portraiture portraiture, medieval portraiture, medieval sculpture, facial casts, death masks, life masks, Enrico Scrovegni, Albertino Mussato, Giotto, Master of the Scrovegni effigy, Master of the Scrovegni statue, Facsimile portraiture
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > History of Art
    Depositing User: Laura Jacobus
    Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2017 11:05
    Last Modified: 25 Aug 2019 22:59
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/14906

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