In this occasional series, Fine Art Today delves into the world of portraiture, highlighting historical and contemporary examples of superb quality and skill. This week: Emanuela De Musis, “Miss Rachel.”

The Art Renewal Center’s annual salon is one of the world’s most prestigious representational art competitions. Needless to say, the number of applicants and quality of their works makes entry to — and winning — the salon a monumental achievement. This week’s feature portrait was the 2016 winner in the portraiture category, as announced just a few weeks ago. In fact, Boston-born artist Emanuela De Musis took home both first and second place in the portraiture category, though we take this moment to highlight the powerful first place winner, “Miss Rachel.”

Emanuela De Musis, “Miss Rachel,” 2015, oil on linen, 42 x 24 in. (c) ARC 2016
Emanuela De Musis, “Miss Rachel,” 2015, oil on linen, 42 x 24 in. (c) ARC 2016

An intense visage greets the viewer in “Miss Rachel,” the sitter’s posture and gaze emanating confidence, power, and grace. Imaged in three-quarter view, the female subject is illuminated by a single light source directly over her head and outside the picture frame. The dramatic tenebrism and theatrical contrast on the figure allow her form to project and lift from the blackened background. Particularly noteworthy is the beautiful blouse worn by the sitter. The cool-white color of the garment allows the warmth of “Rachel’s” skin more attention and, in addition, highlights the brilliant flash of red seen in her lips.

To learn more, visit Emanuela De Musis.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.


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