June 28, 2016
|Word of the
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
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.
Previous Words of the Week