Following the example of his master of choice, René Klarenbeek works in his CONTERFEYTER series, in addition to the large His(S)tories and the Metaphormorphoses, also on the production of portraits.
Commissioned portraiture has always been an interdependent collaboration between artist and subject. As a result of this process of one human depicting another one, a painted portrait thus becomes a unique blend, conveying just as much of the sitter’s appearance and inner self as it does of the painter’s mind, imagination, ambition and skills. Solidified in paint, it is a profound product of the painter’s close imaginative observation of the sitter. A painted portrait has an unique interpretive aspect and initiates an intensive and revealing engagement with the subject matter that other methods of depiction can struggle to replicate. And, moreover, as an one-off object it will easily outlive both its maker as well as the person portrayed.
Because all private and institutional commissioned CONTERFEYTER portraits are made in life-size, the dimensions of the painting will increase as a larger part of the sitter is depicted. That is why the traditional categories of HEAD, SHOULDER, CHEST, HALF LENGTH, KNEE and FULL LENGTH single portraits have their own corresponding dimensions.
A commissioned CONTREFEYTER portrait is not intended as an object of flattery, but as a contemporary work of art, which outcome will be derived from both artistic instincts and skills – and not from an idealised perspective. A successful portrait, whether it is rapidly sketched in oil or highly elaborated and full of details, being a single portrait, a double portrait or a group portrait, is always the product of both positive relationships and mutual trust. The benefits work in both directions. The painter is offered a fantastic opportunity to work with someone who has belief in his art. For the sitter(s), being both part as well as subject of the portraitist’s creative process in the next step of expanding his visual language can be significantly rewarding. This ‘participating via commission’ is able to donate a mutual and enduring legacy for the future.