TPO 19 Lecture 4 Art History
Professor：All right, let’s continue our discussion of portrait artists(portraitist) and portraiture. Who remembers any of the important points we made last time? Sandra?
Student：Well, artists have done portraits of people for centuries, of famous people and regular people, and most portraits convey the artists’ personal vision, like their feelings and insights about a person.
Professor：Great, that’s a crucial point, and I’d like to explore that a little today. A great example of that, that vision in portraiture, is Cecilia Beaux. Cecilia Beaux was born in 1854, and after learning to paint and studying with several important artists of the time, Beaux became known as one of the best portrait painters in the United States. She was very successful. She even had portraits of the wife and children of Theodore Roosevelt, while he was president. Some did not get much more prestige than that. Now, those portraits also reflect the kind of subjects that Beaux tended to use, which were mostly women and children. For example, in her first major work, her subjects were ..., the painting featured her sister and her nephew. Yes, Mark?
Student：Yeah, it just seems interesting. I was wondering if that was unusual to have a portrait artist who is a woman become so well-known and successful in the 19th century.
Professor：Great question. Yeah, she really stood out back in the 1800s. And today, she is still considered one of the greatest portrait painters of her time, male or female. In fact, she was the first full-time female instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and she was a full member of the National Academy of Design. These are pretty important institutions, so, yeah, she definitely made headway for women artists. Ok, so let’s look at one of her portraits now, this painting is called The Dreamer. It is one of my favorites. And I think it is especially characteristic of Beaux’s work. So what you see here is a portrait of a close friend of Cecilia Beaux. So tell me what’s the first thing that draws you to this painting? What catches your eye first.
Student：Well, for me, it is her face and hands, I think they are really expressive, and also, they make the woman seem very comtemplative, seems like she is thinking pretty seriously about something.
Student：Yeah, her eyes kind of draw you in. But what strikes me is the contrasting colors, the white dress and the dark background. It kind of reminds me of that painting we discussed a few weeks ago, by ...eh... John Singer Sargent. I think it was called MadameX?
Professor：I agree, good point. Yes, Beaux had high regard for Sargent’s work. And this is something, a technique you will find in both of their work. Ok, but the painting is called The Dreamer. What do you see is dreamlike about it?
Student：Well, the background behind the woman is pretty vague. Like, maybe there is no real context, like no definite surroundings, expecially compared to the woman herself, since she is so clear and well-defined.
Professor：Yes, the unclear background definitely contributes to that dreaminess. It is meant to show a sense of isolation I think. With the woman is deep in a daydream and not really aware of anything eale. This painting shows how insightful Cecilia Beaux was as a portrait artist. Besides her excellent technical skills, like her use of brush strokes and color to make an impression, both respectives come through. Her portraits reveal her own interpretation of her subject’s state of mind. This is what it is all about, not just likenesses.Now, the undefined background also shows how Cecilia Beaux was influenced by the French Impressionists, who believed, like Beaux, in a personal rather than conventional approach to their subject matter. Beaux used some impressionist techniques and share much of their phylosophy, but her style, it was all her own.
1 What is the purpose of the discussion?
A. To compare the portrayal of different subjects in Cecilia Beaux’s portraits
B. To examine the influence of women artists in the nineteenth century
C. To explain how The Dreamer differs from Impressionist art
D. To demonstrate how Cecilia Beaux's point of view is reflected in her art
2 What evidence does the professor cite to illustrate Cecilia Beaux's reputation as an artist? Click on 2 answers.
A. The instructors that she studied art with
B. Her role in professional art organizations
C. Her connection with an important politician's family
D. The features of her work that the Impressionists imitated
3 What do the speakers say about Cecilia Beaus use of contrasting colors in the Dreamer?
A. The technique was unusual in portraits of the period.
B. The technique was used by an artist that she respected.
C. Several modem artists copied the technique.
D. The function of the technique is to unify several parts of the painting
4 What point do the speakers make about the background of The Dreamer?
A. It is a good example of Beaux's unusual style of brushstroke.
B. Resembles the backgrounds of other Beaux portraits.
C. Its lack of clarity emphasizes the theme of the painting.
D. It is meant to suggest that the woman is in a dark room.
5 Based on the discussion, what is the professor's attitude Inward portraiture?
A. The artist's technical skill is the most important aspect of a portrait.
B. An artist is seldom able to create an exact likeness of a subject.
C. A good portrait portrays the subject in are informal setting.
D. A good portrait portrays more than a physical image.
6 Why does the professor mention the French Impressionists?
A. To identify other artists who often painted women and children
B. To point out one of the influences on Cecilia Beaux's work
C. To question the importance of Impressionism in portraiture
D. To contrast their view of art with Cecilia Beaux’s vision