Faces are everywhere in the National Gallery's collection: in portraits and narrative scenes, in allegories and paintings of everyday life. It is often the faces shown that communicate most directly in a picture; their expressions may reveal the drama of a story, or the character of a sitter in a portrait. A Closer Look: Faces examines a wide array of fascinating faces found in paintings at the National Gallery. It explains why artists in the past created faces to look as they do, what painters through the ages have considered the "ideal" face, how faces are painted, and the reasons for the development of portrait painting. Illustrated with seventy pictures and beautiful details, this book provides an insider's view of the many faces in Western European art.
Alexander Sturgis is director of the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath, and formerly Exhibitions Curator at the National Gallery, London. His publications include Telling Time and Rebels and Martyrs: The Image of the Artist in the Nineteenth Century.