Brief Considerations About 19th Century Portraiture in Art History

By: Luis Alcalá Galiano  

The history of humankind could be told as a journey or narrated as a story. From the earliest beginnings of its artistic consciousness, humanity has recorded everything around itself. Humankind did it out of instinct, out of necessity, out of pleasure, or just for the sake of it. And yet, is there anything more common to all stories and all journeys than the face-subject? Regardless of the artistic medium, neither the historical moment nor the aesthetic theory that feeds each representation, when it comes to a portrait it could be said that we are facing both story and journey, trapped in the pictorial surface. The aim of this oral communication is none other than, broadly speaking, to raise the importance of the portrait as a pictorial genre. It is focused on the relationship between the pictorial portrait and the photographic portrait, specifically in the 19th century. The conclusion to be drawn is as follows: while at first photography was nourished by painting, there will come a point of inflection that will initiate the boom of the pictorial portrait to the point that the influence will be reversed.

Nineteenth Century, Portrait, Painting, Photography, Representation
Arts Theory and History
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Luis Alcalá Galiano

Junior Researcher, Art History, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
A Coruña, Spain