Visual Depictions and Portraiture of Historical Figures

Feb 2019
845
Pennsylvania, US
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Marie Antoinette on Horseback by Louise-Auguste Brun

Marie Antoinette commissioned this painting of herself riding, dressed in breeches - as she was know to do to accompany her husband and father hunting... much to the chagrin of her mother. Empress Maria Theresa who wrote to Marie telling her that riding would spoil her complexion ruin her waistline (though it more likely to do the opposite)... and also went on to say: “Furthermore, if you are riding like a man, dressed as a man, as I suspect you are, I have to tell you that I find it dangerous...”

When her mother saw this portrait (the “photographic evidence”, so to speak, of her daughter's behavior), she grudgingly confessed that this painting in particular best captured her daughter's likeness.

Sadly, this image was later used to accuse Marie of lesbianism and of seeking power for herself.
 
Oct 2018
1,513
Sydney
Shapur II of Sassanian Persia (r. 309-379). What a crown.

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Here he invests his brother and successor Ardashir II (standing in the middle, r. 379-383) with imperial power, with the god Mithra looking on. The kings stand atop the corpse of the Roman emperor Julian (r. 360-363), who was killed in battle when he invaded Sassanian Mesopotamia:

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Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
I've always been particularly struck by the John Riley portrait of Charles II:

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This is the portrait that is supposed to have provoked the famous remark from him, ‘Is this like me? Then odds fish I’m an ugly fellow.’ But I can't help feeling that it is a rather serious work that suggests something about him that one doesn't find in the common run of his portraits.
 
Jan 2019
297
Montreal, QC
I've always been particularly struck by the John Riley portrait of Charles II:

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This is the portrait that is supposed to have provoked the famous remark from him, ‘Is this like me? Then odds fish I’m an ugly fellow.’ But I can't help feeling that it is a rather serious work that suggests something about him that one doesn't find in the common run of his portraits.
There's a presence to this portrait that isn't as apparent in his other portraits. It definitely reflects the chaos of the 1680s, I find. That's not to say that his other portraits aren't striking! But there's a certain gravity to this one, I agree.
 
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