A Likeness

Giovanni Cariani from the Accademia Carrara is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Daily Pic: Giovanni Cariani caught the labors of portraiture.

My third and last Daily Pic taken from the Accademia Carrara show now wrapping up at the Metropolitan Museum in New York: a portrait of Giovanni Benedetto Caravaggi, painted somewhere between 1517 and 1520 by the Venetian Giovanni Cariani. It’s easy to see the staring, frozen quality of many portraits of this moment as a failing – to see it as an inability to give a snapshot sense of a figure captured at a single instant in time. (Later portraits do precisely that.) But what if these portraits were meant to evoke the drawn-out moment of posing they imply, and the long, still encounter between the sitter and artist. One of their subjects could be the time and patience it takes to capture a perfect likeness, and to be the subject of one.

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.