Friday, April 15, 2011

History of Silhouettes

Miniature portraits were extremely expensive for the ordinary person so "Shade" portraits were a wonderful alternative. Silhouettes were originally called Profile Shades or Shadows by the English, the French coined the term La Silhouette, eventually this term stuck and carries forward to today. Antique Silhouettes may be found in 4 general forms:(1) Painted on paper, card, vellum, ivory, silk or porcelain. (2) Painted in reverse on glass. (3) Hollow cut, usually with the aid of a machine, in this process the figure is cut away from the paper, thereby leaving a negative image. (4) Cut free hand with scissors or knives than pasted to a contrasting background. The above photo is a wonderful example of a historical figure (Andrew Jackson) painted on silk.

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