Portraiture

	Ian Burn No object implies the existence of any other 1967
  • 	Ian Burn No object implies the existence of any other 1967
  • 	William Dobell Margaret Olley 1948
  • 	Nora Heysen Self portrait 1932
  • 	George W Lambert The red shawl 1913
  • 	Justin O’Brien Self portrait 1941
  • 	Brett Whiteley Self portrait in the studio 1976

Questions and activities

  • How many images of faces do you see in one day? Where do you see them? Collect a variety of these images and create a class collage. What do you find interesting about the images? Are they giving us a true indication of the people they represent?
  • Consider the gaze of the person in each of the works from the Gallery’s collection listed here. What does it tell us about the sitter and the artist? How do you feel as the viewer? Do you feel welcomed or uncomfortable? Are you being ignored or judged? Do you feel you are watching the subject or is the subject watching you?
  • Dobell and Whiteley both won the Archibald Prize with these portraits. Do you think they were worthy winners? How do the paintings reflect society at the time? Compare these paintings to this year’s winner using our Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes website and identify the similarities and differences. Discuss the relevance of art prizes generally and the Archibald Prize in particular in today’s world.
  • When a viewer stands in front of Burn’s No object implies the existence of any other 1967, their image is reflected in the work. Does this make it a portrait?
  • Choose a classmate as your subject and create a portrait. Make choices about their position and clothing and whether to include objects. Display your work with an extended label in a class exhibition. Discuss whether there is such a thing as a perfect portrait.