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Mittwoch, 5. Juni 2013

portrait vs. photograph - Maria Feodorovna by Kramskoi

exhibit a: Dagmar, a girl from Denmark

exhibit b: Maria Feodorovna, empress

An example from long before the advent of Photoshop:
it's very interesting for me to compare paintings to the photographs or studies that they are based on.
While the photograph, at first sight, is a product of traces of light, captured by a machine and seemingly true to life, the painted portrait is completely the work of a skilled craftsman.

Kramskoi made Dagmar's chin a little bit more dented and the neck and the skull narrower. He also enlarged her breasts and put a smile on her face - just as a modern graphic designer would do it for a magazine-cover. And I guess that he wasn't even consciously aware of what he altered. But as you will see in an instant: the photo appears to be altered also, in an outrageously dilettantish way that has much in common with modern photoshopped pictures.

Her are some details for comparison:

The painted portrait: a beautiful smiling lady with a well-refined nose

The photo: Dagmar is seemingly annoyed by the long exposure-time and feels slightly over-dressed. Something tells me that the photographer did a bad nose-job here.

A blend of the two images. I didn't even have to rotate a layer.

Personal conclusion: photography is a useful tool for realist painters. Painting over photos makes photos bad. Painting as a form of art is superior to photography. Your taste may vary.

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