Role plays

Faces at court

The early modern period experiences a new flowering of portrait art, strengthened by the appreciation of important figures, as evidenced by numerous biographers from antiquity. Men and women from biblical and ancient history are now considered as exemplary, ubiquitous, retrievable role models, and adopted by the powerful in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. In addition, there is an increased interest in individual characteristics which challenge the technical skills of the painter. Hence unadorned faces are to be found as often as embellished ones.


Portrait painting, however, is only considered as a pure imitation of nature, the hierarchy of the art forms is dominated by history painting, meaning the depiction of major scenes from the Bible and history. The portrait, on the other hand, is assigned a lower status. Even so, it represents a lucrative international business. It is also open to female painters who are barred from other genera.


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Ercole II. d'Este as Hercules

Bartolomé González y Serrano

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Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain

Bartolomé González y Serrano

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Alte Galerie, Schloss Eggenberg

Eggenberger Allee 90
8020 Graz, Österreich
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