FACE TO F Ach illea nbjects, ¿rid .1 portrait was often intended to impart a political message. An emperni oj oiIil-i noble who wanted ici emphasise his military might and prowess, for example man of action"), might lit shown With a kiruLol rugged mien, having short-cropped military hairstyle and trimmed beard, squared jaw, knitted brow, and penetrating stare, lr, mi Mil.' other hand, the portrait was intended to suggest Lin ¡iiJl v ¡dual's piety or devut ion to the gods, fta i l] res a 1 li Id I ie idea 11 .1 11 d a n otherworldly gaze a< hieved by showing eyes upraised and :hi: expres sion ul the face more sensitive than determined. \n individual who wished id be perceived .11 an ¡ruellectual might be represented in Lh guise of a philosopher with untrimmed beard .u:;L an introspective lj/u. Yet, whatever the message sent by thL image, some degree of rec-ognizability ^ crucial, or the portrait would cease to function at the most bask Level. An we will nee, these same concerns and patterns are 1 1 relevant to the construction of early Christian portraits of Christ and 1 be saints.
This aspect of reeogni/ability, however stylized the portrait, is the mystery and (he relativism of "1 ikcncis-" \ face may appeal in three different versions, each quite distinct from one another, yet .lji ihree may reveal enough recognizable characteristics in common to he acknowledged as likenesses ul an identifiable individual. Even if a portrait i> Lde alized, viewers may si ill recognize the model, if only because of certain recurring aspects, attributes, at features. l~he image''w^rki" w long as 111 l ■ vi ewer ¿11 ows who its mo de I is and so lo n e ,1 s 11 sh a pes > rein ft 1 rte s, or even t rani forms the ivpiiMl ii-.ii of according to the intentions of the client, thanks to the ability of the artisan. In some cases, the portrait work-H so well thai the model must then try to conform to his or her portrait. This is the ea.se with apparitions of saints in later (Christian tradition, who are recognizable Largely because they "look like1' their traditional portraits. Thus the question of realism and verisimilitude of ,1 portrait become complicated bv the production and dissemination of I he image itself,
Plularch's reflection 0f\ capturing the SOul rather than the deeds of illustrious persons through his writing of their "lives11 occurs at the beginning of his biography oI Alexander, This contest seems particularly apt, foi Alexander was the prototypicaJ savior-ruler, both in his legend snd in his visual portrayals. His portraits, well known even to beginning -. 11 Il- 111 > ol art history, show him as 9 classically beautiful and heroic youth, his face passionately expressive, and his eyes turned upward to heaven as if seeki ng divine inspiration, Eve 111 ually, sttme ti me after his death, port raits 0 f Alexatidl' i went from tlle heaven wa rd - gar.i ng ti » ac i i i -
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