Thomas, Brigette Nicole
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In 2001, Marc Quinn was commissioned to create a portrait of Sir John Edward Sulston for the National Portrait Gallery of London. The resulting portrait, a framed plate of cloned DNA, looks unlike any other portrait in the gallery. This portrait and two subsequent DNA portraits appear at first to be critical of both portraiture and DNA science. However, a careful analysis of these works and the traditions of art which they reference those of portraiture, self portraiture, and icons - show these to be studies in the history of the image and the ways in which the human relationship with the image can be seen to move in a cyclical, rather than linear fashion. While DNA may be a new medium, Quinn points out that the fears and fantasies inspired by DNA science are both timeless and timely, stemming from enduring anxieties about the image.