Renaissance Portraits by Lorne Campbell - review by Anne Clark Amor

Anne Clark Amor

Spitting Images

Renaissance Portraits


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It is reported that the pupils of Hippocrates showed his portrait to Physonomyas, founder of the discipline of physiognomy, ‘a way of observing by which we deduce the qualities of souls from the features of the bodies’. ‘This man is a wrangeler lecherous and rude,’ was his verdict, which so angered the young men that they reported him to Hippocrates. To their astonishment, Hippocrates insisted that the diagnosis was correct, but ·explained, ‘reason that is in me overcometh and ruleth the vyces of my complexyon’.Himself a portrait artist, Lorne Campbell explodes the persistent theory that portraiture is an intellectually inferior branch of art. In a careful and thoughtful study of the history of Renaissance portraiture, he traces the prejudice directly to Michaelangelo, who ‘abhorred drawing anything from life unless it was of the utmost

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