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Insights | 14/05/2020

“[…] Reducing to greater perfection and resemblance?”

“[…] Reducing to greater perfection and resemblance?”

The ways the Uffizi’s self-portraits of artists are perceived in the Museo Fiorentino and the definition of the term “resemblance” in the eighteenth century

The reproductions of the self-portraits contained in the four books of the Series of portraits (1752–1762) by Francesco Moücke, included in volumes 7–10 of the Museo Fiorentino and published from 1731 by Florentine monk and antiquarian Francesco Antonio Gori, show considerable differences compared to the originals. This raises the question of the parameters of interest for 18th century readers in terms of medium and materials. We discover that in the 18th century, the term “resemblance” did not refer to a reproduction that was as faithful to the original as possible, but to a depiction that better resembled the subject’s features, which were sometimes accentuated by exaggerating expressions and adding or changing attributes – especially if these were not clearly visible in the original.

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