Tuesday, November 22, 2011


One of the most well-known portraits in the History of Art is Portrait of a Man (1433) by 15th century Flemish painter Jan van Eyck.


Painted in 1433, the relatively tiny painting (10 x 7.5 inches) is a possible self-portrait of van Eyck himself.  The absence of any emotion and steady gaze of the subject are elements that give the portrait a peculiarly unsettling nature.


The van Eyck painting resides in the National Gallery of Art in London.  Find an interactive gallery view and more information here.

Contemporary artist Devorah Serber takes Portrait of a Man as the subject of her installation work, After van Eyck (2006), in which she creates the image using 5,024 spools of thread as "pixels" which are then compounded and refracted by a lens placed at the front of the picture plane.

Sperber's work toys with the idea of illusion vs. reality as well as the interaction of art and technology.  See more examples (including Renoir and Rembrandt) and a brief explanation of Sperber's work here.


In my interpretation of the work(s) I am wearing a vintage, thrifted turban and a vintage wool cape that belonged to my mother.
[van Eyck image from; Sperber images from]


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