This unit focuses on portraiture. The four portraits are each painted in a different style. We suggest that you begin by discussing each painting individually. Then proceed to the philosophical questions. Although that page is intended to be used after viewing all four paintings, it can also be used after discussing an individual work.

Start: Portraits Exploration


Select a piece from below to pick up where you left off.

1.What strikes you most prominently about this portrait? 2. How do you think Sargent felt about Madame X? 3. Do you think this is a beautiful painting? What accounts for its beauty 4. If you discovered that this painting caused a scandal, how would that change your understanding of it?      1. What features of this portrait stand out? 2. How do you think Matisse felt about the woman in the portrait? 3. If you discovered that the woman was Matisse’s wife, how would that affect your understanding of the painting? 4. Is this painting beautiful? Is Mme. Matisse beautiful? Does that matter?       Michael Borges Study, Kehinde Wiley, 2008      


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