Art Principles In Portrait Photography

How to Apply the Highest Classic Artistic Principles to your Photography.

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T O those who have seen Van Dyck's portrait of William of Nassau in the Hermitage at St. Peters burg, reproduced in illustration 51, our rendering of the same subject in Fig. 50 must seem like a travesty. When a human being has lost his background, in other words, when from his memory vanish all traces of his past, his mind becomes, relatively speaking, a blank. Who will not say upon comparing Fig. 50 with Fig. 51 that the mental state of Fig. 50 is largely due to the "blank" background? There are portraits by the great masters in which the background is kept very simple, but it is not blank. On the contrary, the trans lucent medium - the oil mixed with the colors - is productive of depth and is suggestive. The photo graphic print does not in the least share those qualities. It presents a background hard, metallic, impenetrable, unassimilative. Art students whose study of the old masters is confined to "half tones" should take into consideration the quality in the printer's ink that
falsifies the effect of the originals, sometimes reducing
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