David Eichenberg

American, born 1972

Aimee, 2011

  • Not On View

Oil on panel

Dimensions: 7 × 6 1/4 in. (17.8 × 15.9 cm)

Museum purchase, 2013.3

The inspiration for Aimee derives from David Eichenberg's interest in Renaissance art, particularly the genre of profile portraits. Renaissance artists, also looking to the past for artistic inspiration, often depicted portraits in the profile format, from the shoulders up. During the Renaissance, the profile portrait format was most often used for newly married couples, with the new bride facing left, and the husband facing right. The format, which was also used to depict female saints, underlined the sitter’s moral goodness and virtue. In Aimee, which depicts a contemporary young woman with a Mohawk hairstyle and piercings, Eichenberg subverts this convention by not only depicting an unconventional 21st-century young woman but also in showing her facing right, which would have been the traditional position of a man.The experience of taking both art and art history classes has led the artist to incorporate both traditional and contemporary techniques in his artistic practice. Eichenberg has said that he aims in his works to redefine contemporary portraiture, stating: “Images that go no further than to simply record a physical likeness that in most cases is no better than a cheap, poorly staged photograph. The art of portraiture can say much more about not only the sitter’s physical characteristics that are being depicted but should also capture any emotional energy or defining traits associated with the sitter.”

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