This series of mezzotints was an exploration of the medium of the mezzotint, as well as of the medium of portraiture.
Albrecht Dürer described art as having two purposes: "to serve religion and to preserve the likeness of men after their death." This series attempts to do both in a reflection of men who have served religion, while also serving the humanities. Painting, according to Alberti, "has a divine power, being able not only to make the absent seem present... but even to make the dead seem almost alive after many centuries." The rebirth of dead men is of interest to me as a typological role recurring throughout Christian thought.
However there is a duality of the portrait as an emblem of both immortality and of death. "Ars longa vita brevis." The juxtaposition of the brevity of life and the persistence of ideas and images is reflected in the very medium of the print, the ephemeral mezzotint.