Portrait of Vlad Dracula
Vlad Dracula first slid into my life via the amusing absurdities of horror films, where the actor would glower through red contact lenses and flap his cloak whilst carelessly turning his back on the guy with the pointy stick.
You'd have thought, after all those centuries of undead capers, that the dear chap would have had more sense than to set his sights on someone else's lady. Men tend to get uppity about that sort of thing.
The ladies, on the other hand, often seemed most reluctant to be rescued and forcibly returned to their lives of tranquil domesticity whose horizons were as rigid as the corsets which crammed their breathless bosoms tightly under their chins. How could peeling carrots and wiping Junior's nose possibly compare with the fun of playing hide-and-seek round a rambling Gothic castle with a handsome alpha male with attitude?
Then, of course, there was the historical man himself, a noble by birth, a warrior prince who bravely defied the powerful Ottoman Empire. Surrounded on all sides by traitors and enemies, he nonetheless fiercely defended his country - failing, enduring a long imprisonment, and then rising again to defeat the Turks (for a while, at least.) To this day, Vlad Dracula is hailed as a national hero in Romania.
His nickname of Vlad Tepes was earned as a consequence of his infamous method of impaling enemies and captives, a method he apparently adopted from the Turks themselves and employed in retaliation for their treatment of his own people. He was vastly outnumbered and so used fear to deter attacks. These-days we call it psychological warfare - and as brutal as impalement clearly was, we might question if it was any more brutal than napalm or nuclear bombs or chemical weapons or germ warfare.
Vlad was also a member of the Order of the Dragon, hence the name 'Dracula' which derives from 'draco' meaning 'dragon'. Legend tells us his father introduced him to the Order's occult mysteries when still a young boy of only five.
An enigmatic figure, certainly, around whom myths and superstitions are often more tightly woven than any verifiable historical facts - yet these exist also, for those who care to read into Vlad's life.
The portrait here tries to combine the facial features of the existing historical portraits of Vlad. His moustache has been trimmed to contemporary proportions, and he wears a thoroughly modern suit. Of course. You wouldn't expect our dark prince to stroll around town in raggedy medieval threads now, would you.
Data for Portrait of Vlad Dracula
Oil on stretched canvas.
Width: 16.2" or 41.2 cms.
Height: 20" or 51.3 cms.
Title: Vlad Dracula
Description: Portrait depicting the head and shoulders of the historical Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia - more popularly known as Vlad Dracula.
Artist: Adele Cosgrove-Bray.
Note: The photogaph has lightened the tones of the painting, possibly due to the flash on my camera. But viewers will get the general idea...
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© 2009 Adele Cosgrove-Bray