26 Mar 2015

Ssh! The Secret of Picasso’s Ear

Ears make sense as one of the five: touch, taste, sight, sound and smell. But who thinks about Picasso's ears? We mostly remember his eyes: deep, dark and powerful. Yet he himself - as I don't think has been noted before - seems to have been very conscious that he had large ears. Noddy, a...

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05 Feb 2015 | 2 Comments

Do you draw your own features unintentionally?

Readers, especially artists, I could do with some help. Do you reproduce your own features without meaning to? Do you have examples? Many initial viewers, usually those who can draw, ask me whether artists fused faces (see above) intentionally or unintentionally. They say that it’s well-known...

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08 May 2014

Dutch Royals Are All Artists

I received a message from the Rijksmuseum that their superlative site, the Rijkstudio, now has a collection of Dutch royal portraits. Anyone who has seen on EPPH how portraits of British, Italian and French royalty resemble the artist might wonder whether the Dutch did the same. After all even...

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01 May 2014 | 1 Comments

An Intriguing Self-portrait, c.1345 BC

One of the earliest surviving self-portraits from antiquity is that of Bak, chief sculptor to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. It is beautifully preserved in Berlin (above) and is very intriguing given Western art history’s traditional description of Egyptian art as something foreign.


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20 Dec 2012

Whose face is the Sphinx?

I've been trying to read while a Nova documentary, The Riddle of the Sphinx, played in the background. The narrator described how an Egyptian stone carver called Fahi had been commissioned to sculpt a small-scale version using local stone. "Which face should he give it?" was the burning...

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06 Oct 2012 | 1 Comments

How Shakespeare Became a King

I demonstrated several years ago that many of the most iconic portraits of Europe's rulers, including those of many British kings and at least four of her queens, so closely resemble the artist's self-portrait that they are not portraits as we think of them at all; they are fiction, poetry,...

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09 Dec 2010

Exit the King

Anyone wondering why artists represent themselves as kings – why Fouquet painted himself in 1450 as Charles VII or Ingres as Napoleon or even Lucian Freud as Queen Elizabeth II - might like to read Eugène Ionesco’s play, Exit the King. It does not take long except that….the last hour of the...

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