George Krause* – SFUMATO SERIES

15.05.2012 in23:56 in People, Portraits -->


“The post-Renaissance tradition of the portrait representing, as it does, a faith that the head can stand for the whole and even convey the essence of a person, assumes the convention of chiaroscuro, the effects of light and shade that define the features and three-dimensionality of physiognomy. This convention typically assumes that the principal features will be, literally, highlighted, with the secondary features in degrees of shadow, and so, the light source must generally be at a 45-degree angle to the full face. The Sfumato portraits, by contrast have the light source coming in at the back of the head, producing the strange effect whereby it is the principal features that are in shadow and the secondary features highlighted. And such is the intensity of this light that in most of these portraits the outer limits of the heads have disappeared, so that the unframed features float disturbingly in a suggestive and destabilized space. Conventional portraiture has been subverted with the photographer exchanging the role of portraitist for that of geographer and geologist.”

Review by Peter Ireland, Wanganui, New Zealand 1998