I love the art of portraiture, and I can think of many reasons why people should have their portraits painted.
It is unfortunate, that there is a stigma of a “vain thing to do” attached to commissioning a portrait – of oneself, or even of one’s family or friends. Sure, it involves time and money (and other more intangible things) to create a portrait. But it equally gives back.
Imagine, that your grandparents had their portraits painted in their time. Wouldn’t it be great for you to have it? See it hanging on the wall in your house, people asking you about it and you telling them about your ancestors… And now imagine, they shied away from it, reasoning that it was self-indulgent and so, you don’t have any family portraits…
In the house of one of our friends, when we only just met them, I saw a portrait of a grandfather as a boy of 10. It was a very good painting dating from the beginning of 20th century. The boy’s attitude was very well expressed – he wasn’t pleased to be there, sitting still, while a beautiful day and the cousins with the ball were just outside the window.
That was the little story the hostess told me, while her boys along with their cousins and friends were running around in the garden… That portrait created a link. A thin thread between generations was made material. Every portrait of any person, however insignificant it might be on a big scale of things, records a tangible history on a personal level.
That is why I love the art of portraiture.