General Discussion

Real or Ideal?
Randal at 7:57AM, Sept. 14, 2010
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History is littered with examples of historical figures who are portrayed in portraits and statues that are supposed to be of the same person yet look nothing alike. This got me thinking… For arguments sake, lets say you did something historic that earned you notoriety to be preserved for posterity, and lets say you lived before the advent of photography. Would you want your portraits and statues to be realistic and accurate, so that future generations saw you as you are… or would you want the artist to take license with your appearance, not caring if future generations knew what you really looked like?

As a lover of history, I am curious to know the true appearances of historical figures. So I find it odd that I contradictorily am not concerned about people knowing what I really look like. I don't think that would change if I had done something of note in the past prior to the discovery of the photographic process. Don't get me wrong, if they got it right, that would be fine too… I just wouldn't be worried if they got it wrong.

So which is it for you? Preservation or interpretation?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:01PM
usedbooks at 10:04AM, Sept. 14, 2010
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It raises my philosophical question as to whether physical appearance is an accurate representation of a “person.” In terms of portraits and artwork, sometimes the goal is to make a photographic realistic copy of what one sees, but other times, an artist tries to capture the essence of the individual.

For example, a caricature might be, in a way, a more accurate representation of a person than a photograph. I LOVE the caricature that was done of myself and my brother. In it, he somehow looks more like the guy I know than he does in any photograph. His grin is exaggerated and the lines are drawn in an expressive way that feels more lively than any photo could capture.

My favorite 2D Disney movie (artistically) was Hercules, because the style was more expressive and exaggerated than many of the others. And I prefer the simplified and exaggerated manga/comic styles to detailed, proportioned styles. For some reason, I find it easier to empathize with exaggerated/stylized figures than realistic ones.

So, in that sense, I wouldn't say I like the ancient Greek method of showing all historic figures in godly proportions, but I do prefer the artistic exaggerations that breathe life into figures. – And, I think however an artist or the public sees a figure, there is truth in that representation, even if it isn't a visual/photographic truth.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:38PM
The Gravekeeper at 11:19AM, Sept. 14, 2010
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If all a person is looking for is an accurate rendering of their physical appearance, a camera will beat even the best artist every single time. After all, what would take an artist quite some time to do (varies by medium- paintings can easily take 30+ hours, drawings can take 2+, etc), a cheap camera could do much more accurately in a fraction of a second.

For portraits that convey a sense about the person, you need a human being to do it. Whether it be digital or with traditional media, humans will pick up on things that machines just can't and will be able to consciously or sub-consciously translate it to the portrait.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:14PM
ayesinback at 2:37PM, Sept. 14, 2010
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All historic figures should have web comic representations.

Seriously, I like what usedbooks wrote. Think about Lincoln, for one. You get a much better idea about what the folks of the day thought about him from the caricatures and cartoons than from the formal portraits.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
Chernobog at 3:41PM, Sept. 14, 2010
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I think there's a sense of credit to both approaches, historically speaking. Over exaggerated features remind me too much of political cartoons, but a little creative license seems fine.
 
 
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:41AM
therealtj at 5:17AM, Sept. 15, 2010
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I wouldn't let either be made of me. No one would have any idea what I looked like. For that matter, I would avoid using my name for anything and make my contribution (which would be grand and noticeable) hard to trace back to me. I'll make those historian bastards work to figure out who I was.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:28PM
PIT_FACE at 5:20AM, Sept. 15, 2010
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well lucky for me, i already am statuesque, so there's no problems for me! :D
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:45PM
bravo1102 at 8:49AM, Sept. 15, 2010
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PIT_FACE
well lucky for me, i already am statuesque, so there's no problems for me! :D

Okay so where are the nude representations of that statuesque perfection of female beauty some call pit face's body?

Having seen caricatures and real representations of of myself (as well as photos) I prefer the caricatures as they convey my goofy personality a bit more than some staid depiction of me looking all heroic, even if I do cut a fine figure of a hero but no equestrian statues please.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
alwinbot at 2:43PM, Sept. 15, 2010
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I actually like photographs of people better mostly because I like to see what they actually look like.

I mean, portraits are cool and all but I never believe that's what a person actually looked like. No matter how realistic, the artist makes them look.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 10:50AM
High Queen Doodles at 8:13PM, Sept. 16, 2010
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If I were to have a painting done, I would prefer it be realistic. I'd like to think of myself as not TOO hideously ugly. Today, many celebrity women get surgery to fix their noses, breasts, anything, and they all kind of look…the same. I'd rather look real than have an ideal portrait done.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
ozoneocean at 4:40AM, Sept. 17, 2010
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In the Bass relief style of the ancient Egyptians I would be standing in awkward stylised profile with a gigantic penis sticking out at right angles from my groinal region… That's just the style ^__^

…But I don't think I could hold that position for long enough them to get a decent likeness.

_______________________

There's no question though really, any statue of me would have to be heroic and awesome.
On a horse.
With a cape.
Looking angry and bossy.


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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:37PM
lothar at 8:48AM, Sept. 17, 2010
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im interested in this subject cuz i just read in a book how copper statues will outlast pretty much everything else that man creates . those statues will be around even after the oceans evaporate , but then they will prolly melt .
it would have to be something realy huge and also perverted . that way some future species , maybe a billion years from now would find it and dig it up and have to respect it , even if it was shocking and embarrasing to their prudish culture of bipedal descendents of the snail . i would be luaghing my ass of from beyond the grave . !!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Randal at 10:44AM, Sept. 17, 2010
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Oz
stuff about Egyptian penis carvings

There is a series that pops up now and again on the history channel that covers this very topic. It seems our gilded and industrial age scholars and explorers had censored much of the unearthed antquities for more sensitive eyes. It would appear that the ancient world was lousy with stone penises and intertwined bodies getting down and dirty. Prime examples would be the very same Egyptian reliefs you mentioned, as well as carvings and paintings all over Pompei that can be mistaken for nothing else. I'm sorry all those people died a horrid death, but I'm glad well meaning prudes were unable to hide the truth from us, as they did to the parts of the world not preserved by millions of tons of volcanic ash. :B
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:01PM

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