1st Edition

The Political Portrait Leadership, Image and Power

Edited By Luciano Cheles, Alessandro Giacone Copyright 2020
    368 Pages 200 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    368 Pages 200 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The leader's portrait, produced in a variety of media (statues, coins, billboards, posters, stamps), is a key instrument of propaganda in totalitarian regimes, but increasingly also dominates political communication in democratic countries as a result of the personalization and spectacularization of campaigning.

    Written by an international group of contributors, this volume focuses on the last one hundred years, covering a wide range of countries around the globe, and dealing with dictatorial regimes and democratic systems alike. As well as discussing the effigies that are produced by the powers that be for propaganda purposes, it looks at the uses of portraiture by antagonistic groups or movements as forms of resistance, derision, denunciation and demonization.

    This volume will be of interest to researchers in visual studies, art history, media studies, cultural studies, politics and contemporary history.

    1. Introduction: Faces of Politics

    Luciano Cheles and Pierre Sorlin

    2. Portraits of United States Presidents and National Candidates Past and Present

    Steven Seidman

    3. Representing Leaders in Britain: The Portraits of Winston Churchill, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair

    Simon Downs

    4. The Dawn of Political Portraiture in Italy

    Maurizio Ridolfi

    5. Manufacturing Charisma: Mussolini's Photographic Portraits

    Alessandra Antola Swan

    6. A Dictator with a Human Face? The Portraits of the Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss

    Lucile Dreidemy

    7. Franco: When the Portrait Matters More than the Model

    Pierre Sorlin

    8. The Face of the Regime. Political Portraiture in the Soviet Union and Russia

    Graeme Gill

    9. Faces of Mao

    Stefan Landsberger

    10. Monuments in History: Political Portraiture in North Korea

    Mary Ginsberg

    11. ‘For Our Beloved Leader’: Nicolae Ceausescu's Propaganda Portraits

    Manuela Marin

    12. The German Chancellors: Visual Strategies for the Image of the Head of State

    Manja Wilkens

    13. From Reticence to Excess: Political Portraiture in Italy from the Fall of Fascism to the Present

    Luciano Cheles

    14. The Presidential Portrait in Italy: from Officialdom to Satire

    Alessandro Giacone

    15. Staging Power in France: Political Portraiture from Mitterrand to Macron

    Luciano Cheles

    16. Political Portraiture in Early Republican Turkey: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and İsmet İnönü

    Christopher Wilson and Sinan Niyazioğlu

    17. Burning United States Presidents: Protest Effigies in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan

    Florian Göttke


    Luciano Cheles is a member of the Laboratoire Universitaire Histoire Cultures Italie Europe of the University of Grenoble Alpes and taught Italian Studies at the University of Poitiers, France.

    Alessandro Giacone is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Bologna.

    "As a historical study of official portraits, encompassing a wide range of nations and regimes, this is a valuable addition to the literature on visual political communication. By reading across the case studies one can build a rich picture of how portraits of leaders have evolved over time, reacting to changing contexts while retaining specific national symbols and icons that connote a particular style of leadership."

    --Times Higher Education

    "Bringing to bear expertise in domains from political science to graphic design and communication management, they offer chapters on the expected twentieth-century autocrats -- Mao and Mussolini, the Ceausescus and the Kims -- but also on images of Mitterrand and Macron, Churchill and Thatcher, American presidents praised and pilloried."

    --The New York Review of Books

    "...focuses on the function of modern political portraits and the complex system of codes embedded within them. The editors, Luciano Cheles and Alessandro Giacone, have brought together an international group of contributors – specialists in art history, social history and media studies – whose essays analyse portraits of leaders across a variety of media."

    --The Burlington Magazine

    "...This volume is a particularly welcome addition to the shelves. It consists of seventeen chapters by sixteen contributors. Their quality is high overall, and they fit together very well."

    --Journal of Modern Italian Studies

    "...This is a valuable contribution to the field of visual communication and the growing field of visual politics, and essential reading for scholars and students interested in the iconography of political leadership."

    --Visual Communication

    "The Political Portrait makes an important and timely contribution to the literature on leaders, leadership, ideas, and power, in addition to the literature on the politics of the countries covered by the chapters in the book."

    --Italian Studies

    "In conclusion, the book offers useful material to historians and social scientists investigating political communication. It help them understand how images are used by showing them the extent to which the depictions of leadership depend on the different historical contexts and on the interaction with different political cultures."

    --Comunicazione politica

    "The interdisciplinary approach is one of the strong features of this volume; it will provide stimulus and guidance to other scholars interested in pursuing the study of political communication and the representation of leadership along the same lines."

    --Diacronie. Studi di storia contemporanea

    "Cheles and Giacone's collection of studies of leader's official portraits and propaganda gives fascinating insights into the evolution of image management over the last century..."

    --International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing

    "An original and perceptive collective contribution to the study of both politics and visual culture."

    --Peter Burke, University of Cambridge, UK