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Using nothing but his fingerprint, some oil-based ink and a canvas, American painter/photographer Chuck Close managed to recreate a portrait of his grandmother-in-law. Titled Fanny/Fingerpainting, the artwork dates back to 1985, and really captures the spirit of his late wife’s grandmother. This piece underlines why Close is famed as a photorealist; from a distance, Fanny/Fingerpainting looks like an actual photograph.

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Click here to visit Chuck Close’s website.

According to the National Gallery of Art:

Fanny/Fingerpainting, a portrait of Close’s grandmother-in-law, represents one of the largest and most masterly executions of a technique the artist developed in the mid-l980s. That technique involved the direct application of pigment to a surface with the artist’s fingertips. By adjusting the amount of pigment and the pressure of his finger on the canvas, Close could achieve a wide range of tonal effects. Typically, he worked from a black and white photograph which he would divide into many smaller units by means of a grid. He then transposed the grid onto a much larger canvas and meticulously reproduced each section of it. The result is a monumental, close-up view that forces an uncomfortable intimacy upon the viewer.

- National Gallery of Art

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Aqil Rouf


Hello. My name’s Aqil, I’m 22 and I’m both the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of LIMITLESS Magazine. Besides developing the site’s user interface, it’s my responsibility to oversee and guide the direction of our content and moreover, keep our team of writers motivated!

Chuck Close | Fingerprint Painting

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