DISCOVERING THE PORTRAIT
From the Riddoch Collection
3 November 2018 – 27 January 2019 Margaret Scott Gallery
A successful portrait strives to capture the character or expression of a subject. In Discovering the Portrait, work from the late 1800s to the early 2000s, the Riddoch Art Gallery’s collection explores this age-old tradition.
In the age of the old masters, the making or owning of a portrait played a pivotal role in politics, religion and social standing. It was a tool of royalty, the wealthy and the powerful to record a carefully constructed legacy and likeness. A good portrait painter could find reliable work, and sometimes even the security of patronage, through their craft.
With the development, and subsequent popularity of the camera from the late 1800s, the making and owning of portrait became less linked to wealth and title, and as a result, far more common. Yet its commonality did little to displace the power of the portrait, and instead became a device for everyone, a democratic artform equally at home on a bedside table or hanging in a national gallery.
Here, the Riddoch collection reveals portraiture as an innovative genre, shape-shifting from people, to landscape, from painting to linocut, striving to unearth the character, a timeless expression capturing a recognisable likeness of the world.
Image: Bronek Kozka, The best years of our lives, 2008, pigment based digital print on paper
Curated by Serena Wong