Jacob Collins, “Carlos,” 2011, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 in. © Jacob Collins 2011

In this ongoing series, Fine Art Today delves into the world of portraiture, highlighting historical and contemporary examples of superb quality and skill. This week we feature a stunning contemporary portrait that recalls Renaissance origins.

I suppose that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that classically trained and internationally acclaimed painter Jacob Collins creates vivid portraits that are steeped in tradition. This week’s featured portrait, titled “Carlos,” appears to be taken straight from the Italian Renaissance playbook — a frontal, stoic, and superbly executed visage set against a landscape.

Imaged in bust, “Carlos” — a gray-bearded man wearing a cap, turtleneck sweater, vest, and cardigan — stares blankly outside of the frame just toward the viewer’s left. The landscape beyond displays a few mountains along with some evergreen trees and feathery clouds at dusk. Along with the sitter’s clothing, the overall tone of the canvas is muted and shadowed. However, this allows the face of “Carlos” to sparkle and separate from the surface. The smooth light that blankets his face draws our attention to those subtle details that make him an individual.

Intriguing are his expression and gaze, which beg contemplation from the viewer. What is he looking at? What is he thinking? As such, the arresting portrait evokes participation from the viewer, a consideration of the unknown identity behind the image.

To learn more, visit Jacob Collins.

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.


Previous articleFeatured Lot: Spring Comes Early at Sotheby’s
Next articleBreaking the Rules
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here