Face-off. Keep an eye on the details.

Left: Thomas Lawrence, Portrait of John Julius Coker (c.1825), detail with further detail below
Right: Thomas Lawrence, Self-portrait (1825), detail with further detail below

I try not to write too much about portraiture because pointing out “face fusion” time and again can become a bit repetitive. Occasionally, though, it is worth reminding readers, especially new ones, that even portraits that do not resemble the artist’s self-portrait can still have been subject to “face fusion”. In the example above, Thomas  Lawrence’s portrait of a British politician, John Wilson Croker, Croker’s bald head is so similar to Lawrence’s that there is no doubt that Lawrence intended to highlight the similarity. They were painted around the same time. Note, though, how Lawrence also gave each head an odd upper lip, slightly higher on the left side than on the right. It was Lawrence who, more than likely, was born with the unbalanced lips along, probably, with the off-center chin. Both are positioned slightly to the left. Keep alert for odd features like these because however much you think a portrait represents the artist, details can confirm guess-work.

For more on portraits, see the many examples on the Portraiture page.

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