1st Edition

The Political Portrait
Leadership, Image and Power

ISBN 9781138054233
Published July 21, 2020 by Routledge
368 Pages 200 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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

"...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

"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