- Ivan Drpic
- College of Arts & Sciences, History of Art Department
First-Year Seminar Grant
What does it mean to depict a person? And how might culturally specific notions of individual identity inform the making of images we call portraits? This first-year seminar grapples with such questions through a wide-ranging exploration of portraiture as a genre in the Western tradition, from antiquity to the present. We will examine a variety of images, including marble busts and oil paintings, photographs and death masks, coins and religious icons, and of course, selfies, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the changing relationship between personhood and visual representation across history. While attending to the diverse forms, functions, and meanings of portraiture, we will also investigate issues surrounding the authority and agency of images; the concept of physiognomic likeness; self-fashioning and self-display; and the interconnections among gender, race, class, and identity.