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Bringing the drama

2 June 2016

Since 1967, The Bader Collection at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre has grown to more than 200 artworks, including three Rembrandts. The Baders have aimed to create a collection at Queen’s that can be studied and enjoyed by students, scholars and the general public.

In this issue, students and professors explore the paintings from The Bader Collection on display at the exhibition Singular Figures: Portraits and Character Studies in Northern Baroque Painting.

Drama professor Greg Wanless used the Singular Figures exhibition as the setting for an interactive workshop, “The Body in the Painting,” in which he explored the physicality inherent in portraits.

“Artists make choices,” he says. “By studying their choices to position the subject in a certain way, we learn more about that person’s story.” Professor Wanless asked workshop participants to study and mimic the posture and movement in selected paintings, from the tilt of a head to the strain of a tensed muscle.

Lambert Doomer’s painting A Venetian Courtesan (1666) shows a graceful and self-assured woman in mid-turn, capturing the viewer’s eyes with her own.

Drama student Morgan Anderson (Artsci’16) channels the woman’s poise and posture in her own interpretation of the painting. The study of the portraits has added to her arsenal of tools as an actor. “It’s sometimes difficult to find inspiration for a character. It never occurred to me before to come into an art gallery and explore their movements. Just by mimicking what they were doing, you can interpret what they were thinking.”

Image: Drama professor Greg Wanless teaches us to study the physicality of paintings.

2016 Issue #2

Footnotes
Image Credits

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