Face to Face – Thorvaldsen & Portraiture


In the early 19th century, Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844) was Europe’s foremost artist of marble portraits. This book uncovers how and why the 3D portrait continues to raise our curiosity: its craft, its haptic properties, its physical and affecting presence. For millennia, portrait busts in 3D have been used to represent and promote social relations and human empathy.

Our social self depends on  seeing each other face to face. Today, we consume faces as never before, especially on social media, where most of these (flat) faces are momentary and quickly  forgotten. The 3D portrait is different as it provides a direct and enduring bodily experience. Without forcing us to a predefined response, faces in 3D invite us to come close and explore the person as well as the portrayal.

With over 40 contributions by leading international scholars, artists and  authors, this beautifully illustrated book offers new insights and poses new questions regarding the far-reaching contribution of faces in 3D today. In balancing in-depth studies and short essays, 'Face to Face: Thorvaldsen and Portraiture' addresses everyone interested in how and why images of faces have such a lasting impact.

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