My Non-Artist Take on the Portrait of the Four Female Justices

October 29th, 2013

4justicesLet me preface this by saying I have absolutely no artistic taste. I have no idea what I’m talking about. I don’t know art. I know the Justices. And I don’t like it.

Let’s start with reverse seniority. I don’t like, at all, what the painter did with Justice Kagan. In real life, she is so vibrant and energetic, exuding this whimsical snark, as if she was going to Socratically corner you any moment. The portrait conveys her as dull and lifeless. Her shoulders are slouched. Her hair looks unkempt. She looks bored and disengaged, almost as if she doesn’t fit in with the three other distinguished Justices. She almost fades into the shadows. We can’t even see her hands. Plus her neck doily sags into nowhere.¬†And she is in the center of the portrait. When I look at the portrait, my eyes are drawn right to Kagan’s face. I can’t imagine she is happy with this.

Justice Sotomayor, in contrast, looks fierce. She has a very sharp look, gazing right into the (figurative) lens. Her shoulders are strong, and the stitches on her robes make it clear she is asserting herself. Unlike Kagan, her hands are visible on top of the couch. She is learning towards the other Justices, unlike Kagan who seems to be shirking, and fading into the background. The turtleneck neck doily contours her visage. It’s a good depiction.

Justice Ginsburg looks so stodgy. Her hands are clasped tightly, as if she is not open, at all. In reality she is such a welcoming person. The artist did not capture the spark in that frail frame we all adore. Her teacup neck doily dwarfs her face. She is looking forcefully at the lens, with no emotion.

Justice O’Connor looks like she got an eye-lift or botox something. Her eyebrows are arched upwards in an odd way. She also has this school-girl, doe-eyed look to her. I don’t see at all the strong persona that she has exuded for ¬†three decades on the bench. Though the way her hands are laid depicts warmth, which is right on. I do enjoy the detail put into her sailor-suit neck doily.

On the whole, I don’t like it. Again, this is my purely non artistic opinion.