Renaissance-Style Portraits of Transgender Men

Lorenzo Triburgo examines gender identity and construct in his photo series Transportraits — Renaissance-style portraits of trans men set against Bob Ross landscape oil paintings. The artist actually painted the backgrounds himself, using Ross’ The Joy of Painting as his guide. Triburgo wanted to portray the idea that nature, like gender, can also be a construct. The medium of photography played an essential role in Triburgo’s conceptual process, because of its increasingly subjective nature. “Things can be altered or the subjectivity of the person taking the photo can dictate how it’s created,” the artist recently told Slate. “The same thing goes toward gender. Someone is assigned a gender at birth, when I don’t think there’s any truth behind that. I think gender is something that can grow and change and is more subjective than it’s seen at large.” The upward angle of the dignified portraits communicates a personal connection between artist and subject, as Triburgo was undergoing his own gender transition at the time. See more of Triburgo’s Transportraits in our gallery. … Read More

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Renaissance Portraits Reimagined As Realistic Photos

What happens if we translate past images of people to the present? The photographer Mark Abouzeid explores this question with his striking series of re-imagined Renaissance portraits. These images (which caught our attention on Faith is Torment) reconstruct iconic paintings of people in the past emulated by their photographed equivalents. Since we once relied on portraits to render our true semblance, photography is perhaps the most appropriate medium for repurposing such images today. In the age of the profile picture (and the selfie), we no longer require these kinds of structured images of ourselves, and as a result the stifled Renaissance portraits on the left appear quite alien to the contemporary viewer. But how are these poses really that different from the forged ones scattered across Facebook or Instagram today? Take a look through Abouzeid’s work – profile pictures from the past, perhaps? – to decide for yourself. … Read More

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Hilariously ‘Ugly Renaissance Babies’

Ah, the Renaissance: a rebirth of the classics, major developments in the arts and sciences, and an era of some very ugly babies. Paintings of the Holy Family and other Christian notables populated the time period, producing some strange and nearly disfigured representations of the infant Jesus — and one couple has devoted an entire Tumblr to them. Madonna and Child iconography takes a twisted turn when the little one looks more like a creepy, old man or a misshapen sack of flesh with a curly wig. Click past the break for a peek at some ugly Renaissance babies, see which ones we added to the list, and share yours below. … Read More

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Death and Life of American Cities: Is Detroit the Next Artists’ Haven?

We just read that 18 visual artists received a boost in the form of $450,000 in grant money from the Michigan-based Kresge Foundation. As the Detroit Free Press reported, “Advocates say the fellowships could have a galvanizing effect on the local arts scene — boosting public perception of an overlooked community, inspiring artists to create more ambitious work and offering them an incentive to remain here rather than leave for New York or elsewhere.” Plus, next year the grants will recognize non-visual artists. Does this spell a mass exodus from Williamsburg, the current unofficial abode-of-choice for struggling artists, toward a land free of gentrification and trust-funders? Let’s take a look at the… Read More

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