The Power of Portraits

Florentine Artist (Piero Uccello?), Profile of a Man, c. 1430-40, tempera on woo
Florentine Artist (Piero Uccello?), Profile of a Man, c. 1430-40, tempera on wood, 16 3/4 x 12 3/4 inches (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Altoon Sultan visits the exhibition The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on view through March 18, 2012.

Sultan writes: "When we look at a portrait painted hundreds of years ago, do we enter into the life of the person portrayed? For me, it is less the understanding of a particular life, than the human feelings of tenderness, beauty, vulnerability, thoughtfulness, or strength, that come when looking at portraits; my heart yearns toward them. I sense these qualities more intensely in the direct, simple clarity of form in Quattrocento painting and sculpture."