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June 28, 2016 Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook
Word of the Week--"portrait"
Definition--a drawing, painting or photograph of a person, especially of the face only
 
 
Discussion--A portrait is a representation of reality. It is not necessarily the objective reality of a photograph, but rather the subjective reality the artist perceives.

People often say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This may also be true of a portrait. However, a portrait does not just speak of its subject. It can also speak volumes about its artist.

In his poem "Portrait d'une Femme," Ezra Pound uses words to paint a woman's portrait. While others might not recognize this specific woman from Pound's portrait, it offers a unique and interesting perspective on an individual who, in turn, has her own unique and interesting perspective. And perhaps this portrait tells us as much about Ezra Pound as it tells us about the subject of his poem.

Although a portrait cannot always offer an objective view of reality, there is a unique value in its ability to portray a subjective point of view.
 

Etymology--The term portrait is probably a back formation of portraiture. It is borrowed from Middle French portrait.

Italian and Spanish below show similar roots. Dutch and German are terms more similar to the French word.


   Foreign Translations
German:  Portrait (nt)
Dutch:  Portret (het)
French:  Portrait (m)
Italian: ritratto
Spanish: retrato

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