Portraits of Renaissance Twins by Mary Waters

by CaroPosted on

Mary Waters’ portraits of Renaissance identical twins are intriguing, almost haunting. It is said that during the Renaissance, twins were thought to be the product of sexual promiscuity and therefore evil (The Shining anyone?). Most likely, we don’t see portraits of twins because they could not survive rudimentary birth. Waters clearly prefers working in Romanticism and Renaissance styles and mediums; acrylic, tempera, alkyd, and oil painted with a satiny sheen. However, she is set apart from the masters who inspire her. Similar to Diane Arbus’ work, there is some irony in Waters’ imagery which questions identity. If you had your portrait painted in the 15th century, it was to preserve your features for future generations. Patrons even believed a painting could communicate one’s inner soul. Dressed exactly alike and in the same pose, these fictional twins are an anomaly of their time.

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