Hi, need to submit a 4250 words essay on the topic The Man in the Chaperon.
Early portraiture took its shape and form from Byzantine icons and was confined to head and shoulders images of the person being painted. Full figure portraits came later, with van Eyck one of the exponents who tried it. Facial features and expression were the most important because this specific focus was seen as very personal. A realistic representation also showed flaws and human imperfections, such as warts, scars, and wrinkles, which seemed, in the pious times of the early 15th century, to imply that humans were mortal and imperfect (Woodall 1997). A portrait could be seen as an act of faith in God: who alone is perfect in the eyes of the faithful. Portraiture attempted to convey a character, rather than just an accurate picture of a person. Objects painted near or in the hands of the sitter inevitably suggested their profession, talents or material wealth, or their standing in society. People important enough to be painted had to have that reason perpetuated with them (Woodall 1997). Any words or inscriptions, too, were important for the viewer to understand when, where, how and for what reason that portrait was made. In van Eyck’s time, historic events were such that understanding his portraits is to understand a little of the history of Burgundian Flanders. Van Eyck’s Timoteos (Portrait of a Young Man, 1432) is a male portrait inscribed ‘Léal Souvenir’, which means ‘Faithful Memory’ and suggested a sincere illustration of the believer, which would help elevate him to his heavenly immortality (Woodall ibid). This sentiment can be traced back to some of the earliest portraits of all: funeral pictures of the departed in Egyptian and Roman graves. The man in the picture, with features typically those of the Low Countries (bulbous nose, beady eyes, and full lips) looks learned rather than wealthy. His clothes are not elaborate, and he holds a scroll. He looks off to the left in a pensive way, rather than address the viewer. This is possible because of the man’s profession, modesty or vocation. A mystery surrounds what the scroll could mean.