What is that “Presidential” look? Consciously or subconsciously, American voters ask themselves that question every four years on the way to the ballot box. Is it the Mount Rushmore-ready chin, the never-retreating hairline, or the ideally symmetrical smile to which we surrender our hearts? Portraits of power go back to the beginning of recorded history, but, as The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini, which runs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 18, 2012, shows, it was the artists of the Renaissance who resurrected Greek and Roman models and modernized them for their day and our own. Since the Renaissance, portraiture continues to be more about conveying character than fidelity of representation. The Renaissance portrait endures today because portraits continue to be more about identities than about appearances. The nose (and the eyes, chin, etc.) knows who we are and reveals it to all the world. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Why the Renaissance Model of Portraiture Endures."
[Image: Domenico Ghirlandaio (Domenica Bigordi; Florence, 1448/49-1494, Florence). Portrait of an Old Man and a Boy (detail), ca. 1490. Tempera on wood, 24 ¾ in. x 18 ¼ in. Département des Peintures, Musée du Louvre, Paris.][Many thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for providing me with the image above and other press materials related to The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini, which runs through March 18, 2012. Many thanks also to Yale University Press for providing me with a review copy of the exhibition catalog, which was edited by Keith Christiansen and Stefan Weppelmann.]