Monday, August 13, 2012

Sir David Hare by Paula Rego

Sir David Hare by Paula Rego. National Portrait Gallery, Britain. [Image: vertical full-body painting of a middle aged white man sitting in a wingback chair that is completely draped in stiff black or charcoal grey material, possibly satin, which continues to the ground under his feet like a carpet. Behind him on his right is a sheep or possibly gibbon, about three feet tall, wearing a black business suit and holding a shephard's crook, peering around the chair at the man or the viewer. On his right a crow or raven stands on the ground facing the viewer and a white thing-- a wad of sheep's fleece possibly?-- is on the ground behind it. The bottom half of the background is babyshit brown and the top half is pale peachy orange, with the contrasting grey-blue underpainting showing through between brushstrokes. The man wears black patent loafers, dark blue jeans, and a black sweater over a white button-down shirt. He appears to recline in exhaustion or grief, his right hand over his heart or chest with his thumb hooked into the "v" of his collar, and his left hand in a tentative loose half-fist hanging over the arm of the chair. His head lolls back and to his right, his eyes cast down and to the right as if he is lost in his own thoughts. The chair drapery creates a tall triangle from the bottom of the page to the top. Though the background brushstrokes are loose and abstracted the chair and figure-- particularly face and hands-- is composed of thick and sculptural, but tight and realistic brushstrokes. Overall the paint is thick up to the edge of the canvas and descriptive of sculptural form.]

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