A reader rants

November 28 2012

Image of A reader rants

Picture: NPG

A reader writes:

Can´t believe AHN will not rant about NPG new acquisition [a portrait of Amy Winehouse]! Even I am bothered and I am not even English! It is just a bad, bad, bad picture! Painful! Really bad!

Yes, it is pretty bad. Here's the guff to go with it:

Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, London, said: "Dumas’s liquid handling of paint carries tremendous emotive power.

"Detail bleeds into and out of her work, directing and dispersing the gaze of the viewer. The rich, translucent blues of this portrait allude to Amy Winehouse’s musical influences as much as to the melancholy details of her career."

If I was in charge of the National Portrait Gallery, I'd have a rule against commissioning posthumous portraits. They always disappoint, usually because, as here, their purpose is overwhelmed by the circumstances of the subject's death. A portrait should be from life. The Amy Winehouse image above is just a memorial.

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