Friday, August 10, 2007

"Passed" Paintings of the Day

(I've changed the theme just a bit this week. Instead of a painter, this post will focus on a style of painting.)

Silhouettes and profile portraits were the least expensive style of portraiture in the first half of the nineteenth century. An artist could work quickly and produce a silhouette out of a piece of paper, sometimes folding it in half and cutting two for the price of one!

There were two styles of silhouettes. One was called the "hollow-cut". The artist would snip the profile of the face and place it on a watercolor background. Usually the body was painted using watercolor and the black silhouette profile was glued to the watercolor. Then the fine details of the ribbon in the hair or a comb, were added using paints.

The second type of silhouette was the profile/bust, kind of a "cut and paste" profile. This was cut using black paper and many families used these silhouettes as we would for placing in the family photo album. Here is a page out of a Quaker family's profile album.

During this time, artist also painted profiles with more features and detail. These portraits were painted using color or a neutral palette. Here are a few of my interpretations of these profile portraits. Charity (upper left) and Temperance (who is really from the 18th century with that cap!)

These smaller portraits were not only less expensive for the customer, but were portable as well. These keepsakes could be placed on mantels, or bedside tables and easily moved around for decorating!

To visit Charity and Temperance,...please click here: Profile Portraits

Have a great weekend...we'll be working on the bathroom!

Quaker Family Silhouettes and references for this post:
"Treasures of American Folk Art" by Beatrix T. Rumford and Carolyn J. Weekley © 1989


Nana said...

These are exceedingly adorable and charming ladies. Lovely new additions to your line.

The pitcher photographed nicely, didn't it? She who giveth is well pleased:)

Lana said...

Oh Suzanne ~ I LOVE my profile portrait of Elizabeth! Thank you for educating us about the artists and their types of art. You make it much more interesting!