Porträttbruk i Sverige 1840-1865 : En funktions- och interaktionsstudie
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this study is to illuminate the production and use of portraits in Sweden from 1840 to 1865. The initial year was when photography reached this country and the period ends with the crisis for portrait photography, in which an excessive number of practitioners wasreduced by bankruptcies.The thesis begins with a review of earlier research and relevant theoretical approaches. of which two should be singled out: Michael Baxandall's discussion of intention and historical distance and Wolfgang Kemp's proposals for art historical research on reception. Both of these viewpoints have been important for this study with its focus on reception.The chapters are each about a particular aspect of portraiture and the interaction of the parties concerned. Taken together, they are intended to provide a general picture of the variety and the complexity of the communication from which the portraits emanated. The study is based onextensive empirical sources, consisting of portraits and contemporary documents.The first aspect investigated is the world of art and the agents of portraiture, i.e. all the parties involved in the production and use of portraits. The findings indicate that the number of patrons around 1840 were low, that the collectors were numerous- contrary to earlier statements- and that the portrait commissioners usually came from the upper classes; occasionally, they were craftsmen but almost never peasants. This is followed by an account of the traditional types ofportrait which states that the painted portrait went through a transition towards iconographical simplification. The chapter on the advent of photography and its impact on the portrait trade summarizes earlier research in this field and extends knowledge of the early decades ofphotography, with the emphasis on how the practitioners of portraiture were affected. Here, the technologized culture in Sweden is seen as having paved the way for the introduction of photography. The interaction between photographers and other portraitists is presented as more complex than usually stated. All kinds of portraitists survived the carte-de-visite mania in the 1860s, but the miniaturists almost disappeared and the number of photographers was reduced. The element of change is also pursued in the chapter on portraiture as a process, where it involves an analysis of pronouncements by the agents. The evidence of change that is discernible in their discourse indicates a growing difference between the laymen (the commissioners, and other related beholders) and the professionals (portraitists, art critics) as regards verbal competence and use of concepts. The concluding chapter is about portraits' communicative function - how their commissioners and viewers related to portraits and which material and symbolic aspects were of contemporary significance. The photographic portrait is seen to extend rather than alter already existing portrait usage.
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