Reframing the Portrait

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"A portrait of a woman, with one side of the portrait in the style of a Bronzino painted portrait, and the other half in an abstract Cubist style." Mark Riechers/Midjourney (TTBOOK)

Before family photos, or school pictures or Instagram, there were hand-drawn and painted portraits. Throughout the ages, portrait artists have captured expressions and personalities on canvas or paper, and those who view the picture interpret this “likeness” in their own way. We talk with a philosopher, a musician and a novelist about the role of portraits through history, and how we see ourselves —and others — through these deeply personal images.

Re-envisioning history: A journey through Black portraiture

Peter Brathwaite has now researched and re-imagined more than a hundred paintings of Black subjects. What began as a game is now a book and a museum exhibition called “Rediscovering Black Portraiture.

The painting tells a story: ‘The Marriage Portrait’ author on love, loss and layers of meaning in the Italian Renaissance

Lucrezia de’ Medici (1545-1561)

In her latest novel, Irish novelist Maggie O’Farrell takes us into the world of Renaissance Italy, where she unravels the tale of a young woman, Lucrezia de’ Medici. Shannon Henry Kleiber talked with O’Farrell about what we can learn about history and ourselves through the many layers of portraits.

Portraits of perfection: Discovering Frans Hals’ legacy in Haarlem

Frans Hals, Meeting of the Officers and Sergeants of the Calivermen Civic Guard, 1633

The Frans Hals Museum in the Netherlands holds an exquisite collection of 16th and 17th century Dutch art — and the largest collection of paintings by artist Frans Hals himself. Steve Paulson takes us along on a tour of Hals’ work, and talks with Steven Nadler, a philosopher who has written a new book about Hals.

Original Air Date: September 23, 2023

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