In the last week or so, I have come across several awe inspiring Richard Armitage portraits and news shared by others that have stilled my heart and breath due to their beauty and graciousness. I will keep it to three images.
1) And in one stunning portrait of the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage (right) now appearing as John Proctor in The Crucible at the Old Vic through September 13th photographed by Jay Brooks, I was glad that my rescue inhaler is nearby. Seriously. I literally stopped breathing for several seconds when I first saw this portrait. *THUD*
But seriously, I tried to pinpoint what drew me in about this image of a bare chested Richard Armitage–when we don’t really get to see his chest (but we know what it looks like from other characters where he has doffed his shirt). And several descriptive words sprang to mind: evocative (he’s bare, *THUD*), raw (he’s bare), powerful (all of his muscles), secretive (turned slightly away from us), vulnerable (shielding his body with his arms), disbelief, degradation (his character John Proctor is imprisoned, which might account for him appearing dirty), alien (his fingers draped awkwardly over his head and partially covering his ear), resignation (his accusative stare/gaze), explosive (the muscles again with the broad back and a hint of his sturdy torso), posed (in an unnatural self comforting embrace), sinister, dignified (only upper torso, no nips), etc.
But given Proctor’s fate, this Armitage as Proctor portrait image also jarred a memory within me– harkening back to 7th grade art class and later my wanderings in art museums. Not only does this Armitage as Proctor body pose seem classical (see Michaelangelo’s Dying Slave at left), but the darkened makeup helps to further define Richard Armitage’s features–with the interplay of light and shadow upon him seemingly reminiscent of El Greco to me due to the dark quality of the image’s lighting, and with the dirty skin being quite a contrast from his other pale complexioned portraits where he is bare chested.
2) Richard Armitage’s portrait as Proctor again (right), also photographed by Jay Brooks. The hair and coat textures were what I noticed first–with the coat on close up seeming to be a sheep fur, classic. And Mr. Armitage’s hair and beard are perfectly coiffed–not haphazard and almost wild as they seemed to be from some of the production stills. Yet the extra space above his head seems to make him appear smaller/shorter. Or is it that the accusations Proctor faces beat him down from the tall and proud man he was before them? And, of course, the averting gaze and body pose made me think of a similar July 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot (image left).
- Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the MountainThorin (right on Fortesque’s tumblr via Thorin of Erebor and Robin T. Thanks!), is in the building–as he is rebuilding his people’s futures. But when I see Thorin here, I see a man for whom legions would follow him–and I’m not merely talking into battle. Ha! The touseled hair, the elongated nose, the piercing blue eyes and the long wavy hair all lend an other worldly–or Middle Earthly–Heartthrob ambience to him. In this slightly contemplative Richard Armitage as Thorin, what do we guess about his emotional state? I, for one, am smitten by Thorin even being allowed to look handsome in this portrait here–not ferocious, but still passionate, quite like this John Thornton portrait (left). And for a man to wait and plan nearly 175 years to seize the briefest moment of opportunity to “reclaim his homeland” betokens a man with passion, patience, and perseverance.
Whereas Proctor’s portraits above and elsewhere are full of righteous fury, this Thorin portrait is reflective, handsome, and charming. Though charming is not a descriptor typically associated with the character of Thorin, it is with the man who plays him, Richard Armitage.
And Richard Armitage and his wonderful storytelling make me smile on a regular basis. And these Richard Armitage role character images above are somehow different for me–visceral–and touching me so deeply that I was surprised by my reaction to them. Mr. Armitage’s roles are usually so complex and intense, I can only hope that he might attempt a little light hearted romantic comedy fare at some point–allowing his character to: live, get the girl, become a parent, and live happily ever after. Sighhhh!
In the meantime–as we await the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in December–I will enjoy these and other images old and new that are released about Richard Armitage.