Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Portrait of Lord Robert Baden-Powell by Sir Hubert von Herkomer - National Portrait Gallery, London

Here is a portrait I found particularly striking at the National Portrait Gallery in London by Sir Hubert von Herkomer of Lord Baden Powell, Major-General and founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

The deliberate difference in paint handling between the figure and the background leaped out at me from across the room, providing a wonderful sense of volume to the figure.


"Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell"
 • Sir Hubert von Herkomer
 
• 1903
 
• Oil on Canvas
 
• 55 7/8" x 44 1/8”

First off, I must point out that this portrait was displayed adjacent to John Singer Sargent's portrait of Sir Frank Swettenham, and it definitely held its own in such good company.


The face is beautifully rendered in thick, juicy strokes of paint and is wonderfully framed by the dark brim of the hat. Like most of the paintings at the gallery, this one is under glass.


The uniform is painted with a calculated economy of strokes. While every detail appears correct, there is not a single unnecessary stroke.


The background, in comparison to the figure, is executed in the thinnest of washes and strokes of paint, placing all of the emphasis on the figure. You can even see the initial lines of charcoal through the transparent paint. If it's the right color and value, there's no need for thick paint.

Photos by Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts.


© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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