Jane Austen & Portraiture

Portrait of Jane Austen, 1815
Portrait of Jane Austen, 1815 (source: austenonly.com)

Painter Laurie Fendrich muses on a newly discovered portrait of Jane Austen and what it says about how we view and paint portraits.

Fendrich notes that "We must remember that the way we view portraits reveals more about us viewers and our longings than about likeness per se... To make a given subject truly come alive requires an artist who goes not for mere likeness, but for the personality and character of the sitter... These things are often hidden from view at first glance, but great or even good artists know how to ferret them out and bring them into a protrait - making them lurk in such things as the way a mouth is set or the body holds itself."