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In the Shadows explores the origins, evolution, and enduring power of silhouette portraiture through works in Telfair Museums’ permanent collection.

Silhouettes — which started out as profiles cut from black fabric or paper, were often referred to as “profile shades” or “shadows.” Incredibly popular in Europe and the United States in the 19th century, profiles were cut by hand or through a specialized instrument, the physiognotrace, by artists and amateurs alike. Although photography would replace the medium as the most practical, instantaneous, and inexpensive mode of capturing likenesses, artists have continually returned to and transformed the silhouette in creative and, at times, subversive ways.

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