How to Read Portraits (The Metropolitan Museum of Art - How to Read) by Kathryn Calley Galitz

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This latest volume in The Met’s acclaimed How to Read series explores the meaning of portraiture across time and cultures―from funerary masks to realism to abstraction

Portraiture goes far beyond capturing a likeness. Portraits speak to such fundamental human concerns as status, relationships, and identity. Featuring more than fifty works across time and cultures and in different media, from the strikingly naturalistic mummy portraits of Roman Egypt to Pablo Picasso’s Cubist abstractions to symbolic portraits by contemporary artists, this book expands the notion of what, beyond mere appearance, constitutes a portrait.

Kathryn Calley Galitz, author of the bestselling The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings, illuminates how artists and sitters through the ages have engaged with the genre to reveal character and convey power and social standing; how artists as varied as Rembrandt and Cindy Sherman embraced artifice and role-playing to interrogate identity; and how portraiture encompasses a wider variety of works than typically thought. This reexamination of a deceptively familiar genre provides fascinating ideas about what these images can tell us about the artist, the sitter, and ourselves.  

Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press.

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