Made with Early Modern Portraits

Volker Hermes

Hidden Liotard IV, Photocollage 2020

My Hidden Portraits are interventions in historical portraits through image processing. In the process, I reshape individual areas of the painting, obscuring the facial features of the sitter. The result is a shift in focus away from individuality and towards codes or details that are otherwise visible in the painting. Portrait commissions were reserved for a wealthy elite, like Joachim Rendorp here, a rich citizen and mayor of Amsterdam. Liotard’s pastel shows him in a strikingly coloured Justaucorps, which black satin collar is an important contrasting element. It is precisely details like these that I give new meaning to by reshaping them into a mask that, centrally located in the picture, draws attention to the magnificent materiality of the portrait.

Van der Helst III, Photocollage 2020

Certainly the most striking detail of this portrait are the numerous small ribbons, which were probably absolutely in vogue and here adorn the sitter’s dress in excessive numbers. Contrasted with opulent jewellery and lace, this creates a fashionable portrait of the Dutch golden age. Certainly, anyone would usually be captivated by the sitter’s youthfulness at first, while all the details of the dress only add up to an overall picture. I have given the bows and jewellery a new, more important role and played with the details of this painting with a touch of coquetry.

Volker Hermes *1972

1992 – 1995    Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Philosophy
1995 – 2002    Academy of art Düsseldorf, Painting in the class of Dieter Krieg
2000                Meisterschüler of Dieter Krieg

Image credits

Hidden Liotard IV (after Portrait of Joachim Rendorp by Jean-Etienne Liotard, 1757, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam), Photocollage by Volker Hermes, 2020

Hidden Van der Helst III, based on a Portrait of Adriana Jacobusdr Hinlopen by Lodewijk van der Helst, 1667, The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Photocollage Volker Hermes, 2020