Thursday, February 21, 2008

Madame X

Oh, if you are a fan of John Singer Sargent you will want to read this book. It's the story of the famous "Madame X" painting and the scandal it caused in the late 1800s in Paris. The book is fascinating, more for the window into the life of Sargent than for the scandal (although the scandal reads like People magazine). As I was revising a portrait this week and adding hair (where there was none) and removing wrinkles (where there were some) I had to laugh at the similarities Sargent faced with his clients. In the end, people are still the same. They see themselves in a much kinder light than a scrutinizing artist would. The key is in balancing reality with a flattering touch.

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