The Mirror (1966)
Fairfield Porter (1907-1975)
American, oil on canvas
Fairfield Porter’s The Mirror explores the complex relationship between reality and illusion. In this image, the artist depicts himself painting a portrait of his ten-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. Her gaze, from within the illusionistic space of the canvas, acknowledges the viewer’s presence in “real space”. Simultaneously, the artist’s reflection in the mirror establishes another level of space that is neither ours nor Elizabeth’s.
Porter entered the art world just as the Abstract Expressionists were gaining international recognition. Yet he retained a commitment to the figure and to the traditional painting subjects: landscapes, interiors, still lifes, and portraits.
The Countess de Castiglione (ca.1856–57)
Salt print with pigment
This hand-colored photograph features Virginia Oldioni, the Countess de Castiglione. Between 1856 and 1895, the Countess worked with photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson to create more than 400 self-portraits. Fascinated by photography’s capacity to shape identity, the Countess played a direct role in the creation of each work. She chose outfits, determined poses and directed Pierson on how to enlarge some of her images.
José Herrera (1938)
Tempera on panel
"Born and raised in Roswell, New Mexico, Peter Hurd painted the people and landscape of nearby San Patricio, where he maintained a cattle ranch. José Herrera was a farm hand on the Hurd ranch for more than 20 years. Hurd painted his friend many times and once called him "one of the most paintogenic people I know." Here he is shown looking directly out at the viewer against a panoramic view of the Hondo Valley. Filling up much of the composition, Herrera appears as strong as the mountain range behind him. The painter's use of tempera accentuates the effects of arid land and air integral to the scene. Hurd convinced his famous brother-in-law Andrew Wyeth also to adopt the medium."
“There are only a few notes. Just variations on a theme.” ― John Lennon
Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme