Robert Hannaford's Portraits

2144 Words 9 Pages
“From the time I was very young I wanted to draw to understand what I was seeing. I used a pencil to understand things.” This statement from Robert Hannaford concisely encapsulates his approach to art. Throughout his artwork, it is easy to see this approach through his quest to understand the people and environments around him.
Robert Hannaford is one of Australia’s most renowned and influential portrait artists. The Art Gallery of South Australia has curated an exhibit of the artist’s portraiture and drawing works. Robert Hannaford’s impact upon Australian Art can hardly be overlooked. A regular Archibald Prize finalist since 1994, he has painted the likes of former Prime Minister Paul Keating, Chancellors and Ministers within Parliament,
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Flannery leans forward in the portrait, which Hannaford stated communicated his enthusiasm. By making the portrait larger than life and positioning Flannery in that pose, Hannaford successfully communicates to his viewers the personality of his subject. This perhaps is one of the most successful elements of Hannaford’s portraits, in his ability to draw the viewer in and attempt to make them understand the person within the painting. As the viewer delves deeper into his work, they are invited to understand the subject of the portrait as deeply as Hannaford himself does. Robert Dessaix once said that “…if the Yale Psychologist Paul Bloom is right, to believe in a captured essence of some kind inside physical objects is part of being human.” Many of his portraits shine with a vibrancy within the paint, giving this impression of life and the essence captured within the portrait itself. Indeed, it can almost be believed that the person themselves is living within this portrait. The effect of this is not lost on the viewer, as it captures their attention and makes the viewer stop to examine the

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