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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K177: 大師手繪全身像 成權貴公關利器 Self-Promotion, From Head to Toe

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K173: Self-Promotion, From Head to Toe

We tend to think of public relations as a modern invention, but the desire for self-promotion is hardly new. In the days before the news release and the photo call, the most effective means of image control was the painted portrait.In the early 16th century, a format of portraiture developed that was stunning in its impact, showing subjects life-size, full-length and standing. The scale was unprecedented in secular art, being previously reserved for depictions of God and the saints. It was also the most expensive form of self-promotion that money could buy. Such a portrait conferred instant status.


Originally the preserve of monarchy and of the high nobility, the full-length portrait was later adopted by those a little lower down the social scale. But they all used the format to communicate who they were — or who they would like to be.In the exhibition “High Society,” running through June 3, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has gathered almost 40 magnificent full-length portraits from the 16th to the 20th centuries by the leading artists of their day. The paintings offer a fascinating insight into the messages that the great and the good sought to convey about themselves.


The Habsburg emperor Charles V popularized the full-length portrait for the Europe’s ruling elites in the 16th century. Fully aware of its religious origins, he was effectively declaring himself God’s representative on Earth. He had five such portraits made during the 1530s to be hung in palaces across his vast territories, which included the Holy Roman Empire in Europe and the Spanish Empire that stretched to Asia and the Americas. He was evidently eager to make sure his subjects absorbed the powerful message.“It was all about propaganda and PR,” said Jonathan Bikker, the curator of the Rijksmuseum exhibition. “I think that’s why the monarchy and the high nobility had such a strong hold on that format. They made it associated with them and them alone.”


The nobility would often use the full-length portrait to celebrate the union of two influential families. Such was the case with Henry IV, duke of Saxony, and his bride, Catherine of Mecklenburg, whose 1514 portraits by German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder were opulently adorned in the colors of their coats of arms. The continuation of a powerful dynasty could also be emphasized by the inclusion of children.The association of the nobility attracted the Dutch bourgeoisie to the format in the 17th century. Having gained wealth and power, they used their portraits to claim a comparable importance.

貴族常用全身肖像畫慶祝兩個勢力龐大家族的聯姻。薩克森公爵亨利四世與梅克倫堡的凱瑟琳結婚即為一例,1514年,他倆的肖像畫出自德國畫家盧卡斯.克拉納赫一世之手,畫中大量使用兩個家族紋章的顏色來裝飾。若要強調強大的王朝得以延續,通常是在畫中加入小孩。全身肖像畫跟貴族的關係,吸引了17世紀荷蘭資本家階級採用這種形式。他們得到了財富和權力,便用肖像來表達自己跟貴族同等重要。Source article:


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