Eustis Estate

White Collars 2

For artists, a white collar was useful in setting off the face—a portrait’s most important and distinctive element—from the rest of the figure. But the collars also provided a technical challenge. In both life and art, white collars are rarely just flat blocks of white color. Instead, they are surprisingly complex zones of light and shadow: the same white fabric takes on a different tone as it curves around the neck or ripples down the chest.

In the section below, compare how all of these artists have handled the white in their sitters’ clothing.