Renaissance Portrait painting preoccupied itself with virtue being the only conduct for beauty.
Although there is still a hint of vulnerability that is disquieting and that encourages us to pause and examine the impact of modern preoccupation with perfection, these paintings are a lot more contemplative.
Compositionally the subjects immediacy still confronts us, yet the gaze turns inwards.
Instead of being an object for scrutiny, although aware of the viewers gaze, the subject turns towards it’s own analysis.
Consideration of their own history conjures up issues around a more current self identity.
Androgyne and blurred gender distinction may come to the forefront of this more recent modern self awareness.
Andrew Barns-Graham's style is distinctive and completely appropriate when considering his subject matter. Hard-edged contours and perfectly blended colour rid his women of any realistic imperfection. Detail has been reduced to draw our attention to those facial features which are suggestive of idealised beauty - the sultry pout, sculpted cheekbone, or suggestive eyebrow.