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May 26th, 2009

Daniel Pontius

Mary Freer by John Constable, 1809

Pontius Colors

Mrs. Tuder by John Constable, c.1818

Pontius Colors

It has been so long since I have seen the lovely Isabella LaFitte that I can’t remember if she looks more like Mary Freer or Mrs. Tuder. Certainly still like Mary, as it really can’t have been that long. “Where has she gone off to?” I wonder early in the morning while drinking my coffee. “Off with a portrait painter; a sojourn, waiting for beauty to return to art.” I answer to myself.

But what has happened to the portrait painter? What has happened to Allegory with a capital ‘A’ ‘? Suppose for a second, what would you consider the modern equivalent of Napoleon’s bee, Charlemagne being it’s precedent?

I wonder, (speaking generally here, not of Isabella’s) is the portrait painter obsolete with a click of a camera an aptly edited in Photoshop? Is that it, be gone? I must say that there is a specific talent in photography, in the capturing of that there there. And, was very impressed when my photographer friend Roger took my photos and got something by far more me than my own out stretched arm aiming back at myself.

So back to portrait painters… Lucien Freud is all I can think of, and then there were a couple of those Bloomsbury painters but can we call any of them proper portrait painters or should we say painters of portraits?

Here is Constable. Known for his landscapes–portraits quite pleasing– and if you are in London I would see his show at the National Portrait Gallery which runs for several more weeks and let me know what you think.

And please Dearest Anonymous, I love your comments. Who is your favorite portrait painter? You have written so many books, you have composed so many songs, and even painted a few portraits yourself, certainly please–tells us, who is your favorite?

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