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The Art of War

Front-page WaPo article on the Pentagon portrait of General Peter Pace, former JCS Chairman, presents some basics about portrait painting.  Contrast his portrait with that of some famous contemporaries. 
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Discussions - 4 Comments

I rather like the portrait of General Pace. It is a tasteful, somber, serious portrait. By contrast the portrait of General Powell looks busy and contrived.

The comment that the backdrop is "the color of dried blood" is silly. Dried blood in quantity takes on a much darker color ... almost black.

The background color conveys a sense of the color of the desert, which has been the primary focus of Pace's involvement. It also complements nicely the green of the uniform.

agreed, Don, all the rest appear contrived, by contrast. The strange thing about the feature is that it was page one, and not motivated by any news hook.

I actually like the portrait of General Hagee best. dried blood does turn black, but the shade of red does fade to a darker shade on the lower right corner, with a sort of smeared light comming from the upercorners right and left. I don't know how the red background color in Pace's shot converys the color of the desert. Perhaps parts of Texas, New Mexico or AZ. But Iraq looks a lot more like the background chosen by Hagee. There the background light comes from the horizon or bottom of the picture signaling an outdoor desert location, especially when the desert uniform is worn. The Pace background while good has to be indoors. In both cases the background shading or light source doesn't correspond to the lighting that illuminates the figures. The red background does look great on the green uniform. I also like the General Gray, which means I probably just like the work of Peter Egeli. Peter Egeli also does the portrait of Cheney which shows him in his combat uniform indoors, on a chair but with photographic precision and some interesting light contrasts.

The WaPo thumnail gallery didn't mention that the General Pace was the work of Peter Egeli as well. According to Peter Egeli "I would call it "classical realism." It is my attempt to get as close to expressing the truth about my subject as I can."

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