Portrait of Kiera. Similarities and differences between Michael Jules Lang and Post-Impressionist artists.

Michael Lang has his own style. After years of studying while he experimented and came under the influence of the Impressionist masters, he grew into something unique, which is definitely post-Impressionist but genuinely realist at the same time. Among his works, from stunning still lifes to touching landscapes and interesting interiors, his portraits stand alone as touching insights to real people.


The Portrait of Kiera for instance is so delicate and extraordinary. Her face is realistic and well-represented, as well as intensely moving and emotionally charged, due to the use of colourful brushstrokes in a post-Impressionist technique. The choice of cold colours clashes with the warm, shining brown hair, the use of light allows one to focus on Kiera’s gaze, which is melancholy or perhaps just distracted, but surely emotionally powerful.


The painting recalls the Self-portrait of 1888, by French artist Jean-Édouard Vuillard. An exponent of Les Nabis, the Nineteenth century avant-garde movement whose aim was to exceed the Impressionist realism and create a new language that allowed explicitly expressed emotions.  Vuillard’s work seems to be the predecessor of Lang’s “Kiera”: that is a clear regard for the realistic silhouette, the short but intense brushstrokes and the expressive gaze of the sitter. Reclaiming this post-impressionist style, Belgian avant-garde artist Georges Dheedene made his Self-portrait more than a hundred years later, in 1970. Once again, the reality accompanies emotions, expressed this time not only by the brushstrokes, but especially by the bright colours.


“Kiera” can easily be considered the son and heir of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries avant-garde: Lang adds to the refined reality and post-impressionist technique, something more personal and the result is arresting and truly emotional.



Left image: Michael Lang, Portrait of Kiera, oil on canvas, 40x30cm.
Right image: Jean-Édouard Vuillard, Self-portrait. 


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