One Hundred Portraits

Barry Moser, foreword by Ann Patchett, Godine, $35 (160p) ISBN 978-1-56792-366-7
"The portrait is, in my way of thinking, akin to a crystal goblet. I merely shape it and offer it to you. You fill it with what you know of that person, or of that person's work." Renowned for having illustrated over 200 books for children and adults, Moser, a member of the National Academy of Design, created a number of new engravings for this collection of portraits. Represented are poets (Keats, Wordsworth, Plath), authors (Mann, Twain, Carroll, Chekhov), composers (Handel, Wagner, Sibelius), activists (Douglass, Truth, King), and artists (Carle, Homer, van Rijn), as well as Moser's immediate family. In the brief afterword, he discusses the sources for his portraits, including subjects of whom no accurate depictions exist, like Chaucer. In those cases Moser utilized death masks , ancient photographs, and even busts. Printed on heavy matte paper, with spare titles including name, dates of birth and death, and occupation, One Hundred Portraits is a pleasure to study. The heavily detailed engravings result in portraits of very expressive faces, and giving readers, according to Ann Patchett, "the chance to visit the people we were sure of and learn something more." (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2011
Release date: 11/01/2010
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