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Portrait Painting

Portraiture is one of the most important subjects in painting. The discipline has changed significantly over time and has a fascinating history.

In antiquity, portraits were exclusively reserved for gods and the most influential people in society. Paintings and statues representing the bodies of the deceased were erected to decorate tombs in Egypt. They weren't realistic but rather had a very standardised way of representing each part of the body.

In contrast to the Egyptians, painters and sculptors in Greece, who had a more in depth knowledge of the human anatomy, were more concerned about realism. Many paintings from this period were done on vases and depicted gods and mythological scenes.

In the Middle Ages, most portraits were commissioned and featuring the most important people of the time; they were painted into religious scenes to emphasise their piety and faith, along with their social status. Once these works of art had been painted, they were often donated to churches and monasteries.

The Renaissance marked a renewal for the arts and portraiture was no exception. At the beginning of this period, artists were unconcerned about lifelike, realistic work. Sitters or the subjects represented were identifiable through the use of symbolic objects and the inclusion of their name.

Giotto revolutionised portraiture by imitating sculpture. He began to paint shadows, the subjects' expressions, effects of depth and began to use foreshortening. His knowledge soon began to spread.

Brunelleschi then introduced the idea of perspective in architecture, a concept which Masaccio adapted to painting. Italy became the centre of portraiture and the most important Italian families (including the Médici family) commissioned artwork by the best painters. Competition between these painters led them to innovate and led them to produce some of the greatest artworks in history. The most famous is undoubtedly the Mona Lisa by Leonardo de Vinci.

In Northern Europe during the sixteenth century, Flemish art was restricted by iconoclasm during “the reformation", a period during the depiction of religious figures was banned. Artists turned to courtly art which was particularly popular during the following centuries. A century earlier, Flemish art had marked a turning point with Jan Van Eyck, the inventor of oil painting (the preferred painting technique of all Renaissance painters) and master of detailed realism, who influenced an entire generation of Flemish painters.

Over the following centuries, portraiture continued to be an art form for the elite of society, but painters grew increasingly concerned about depicting realistic figures and communicating the sitter's inner world and emotions. The 20th century saw a growing trend: subjects were not painted to look beautiful (sometimes to their great dismay).

At the end of the 19th century, impressionist painters became less reliant on sculpted models and sculpture's influence. They left their studios and painted portraits outside, “en plein air". They captured the light as they saw it and painted groups of people together rather than in in several stages.

Modern and contemporary art of the 20th century saw anything go when it came to portraits. Artists like Gustave Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin and Lucien Freud turned traditional techniques and codified rules on their heads and developed their own unique styles. Discover portraits by Philippe Pasqua, Robert Combas, Guangyu Dai and Erró on Artsper.



Collector’s Guide: Collecting Paintings

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price,500 facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Werke von Bestseller-Künstlern|icon-bestsellers*werke-von-kunstlern-bestseller facet,10503*Obras de los artistas más vendidos|icon-bestsellers*obras-de-los-artistas-mas-vendidos price,501:1000 price,1001:5000 facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Pintura*pintura category,6*Gemälde*gemalde facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*Abstract*abstract facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*grand facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero facet,1671*Landscape*nature facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Paysage*nature facet,1671*Nature*nature facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulptur*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura category,9*Fotografie*fotografie category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Fotografía*fotografia facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Retrato*retrato facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos price,1000:501 facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Zeichnung*zeichnung category,23*Dibujo*dibujo category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*tres-grand facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*tres-grand category,15*Edition*edition category,15*Druck*editionen category,15*Print*print category,15*Edición*edicion facet,1830*Paysage|landscape*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landscape|landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Landschaft|landscape*orientation-landschaft facet,1830*Paisaje|landscape*orientation-paisaje facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,1680*Tier*tier facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,1674*Etchleben*etchleben facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Blanco y negro*blanco-y-negro facet,1632*Architecture*architecture facet,1632*Die Architektur*die-architektur facet,1632*Arquitectura*arquitectura price,50001 facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large price,5001:10000 facet,1650*Paysage urbain*paysage-urbain facet,1650*Urban Landscape*urban-landscape facet,1650*Paisaje urbano*paisaje-urbano facet,1650*Städtische Landschaft*stadtische-landschaft price,5000:1001 facet,12*noir|050002*noir facet,12*schwarz|050002*schwarz facet,12*Black|050002*black facet,12*negro|050002*negro facet,1692*Géométrique*geometrique facet,1692*Geometric*geometric facet,1692*Geometrisch*geometrisch facet,1692*Geometría*geometria price,10001:25000 facet,1656*Grafik*grafik facet,1656*Graphique*graphique facet,1656*Graphic*graphic facet,1656*Gráfico*grafico price,25001:50000 facet,30*Dark blue|0707BD*dark-blue facet,30*bleu foncé|0707BD*bleu-fonce facet,30*Dunkelblau|0707BD*dunkelblau facet,108*oil*oil facet,108*huile*huile facet,108*Öl*ol facet,108*al oleo*al-oleo
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Robert Combas, Sant titre, Painting

Robert Combas

Sant titre, 1988
32.3 x 20.5 x 2 inch
Painting

$90,007

C215, Hardwood, Painting

C215

Hardwood, 2014
47.2 x 31.5 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$13,847

Ben, My Nose, Painting

Ben

My Nose, 1967
7.1 x 9.4 inch
Painting

$17,309

Martin, Pologne #2, Painting

Martin

Pologne #2, 2017
23.6 x 23.6 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$404

Sylvie Eudes, Pause Café, Painting

Sylvie Eudes

Pause Café, 2021
14.2 x 14.2 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$1,327

Marian Williams, Love Letters, Painting

Marian Williams

Love Letters, 2022
11.8 x 11.8 x 0.2 inch
Painting

$288

Marie Palazzo, #210117, Painting

Marie Palazzo

#210117, 2021
39.4 x 39.4 x 2 inch
Painting

$4,500

Our recommendations Jef Aérosol, Children blue, Painting

Jef Aérosol

Children blue, 2021
15.7 x 15.7 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$3,116

Lionel le Jeune, Rembrandt Evocation, Painting

Lionel le Jeune

Rembrandt Evocation, 2021
7.9 x 7.9 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$692

Jean-Philippe Berger, Monica, Painting

Jean-Philippe Berger

Monica, 2022
31.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$231

Ivan Tzonev, Tête B3, Painting

Ivan Tzonev

Tête B3, 2021
19.7 x 19.7 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$335

Maxime Andriot, Superman, Painting

Maxime Andriot

Superman, 2021
28.7 x 39 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$531

Yasna Godovanik, You Make My Heart Happy, Painting

Yasna Godovanik

You Make My Heart Happy, 2021
37.4 x 27.6 x 0.8 inch
Painting

Sold

Our recommendations Philippe Pasqua, Portrait, Painting

Philippe Pasqua

Portrait, 2011
28.7 x 23.6 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$9,808

Laurence Chouzenoux, Fable d'Orient, Painting

Laurence Chouzenoux

Fable d'Orient, 2021
36.2 x 28.3 x 0.4 inch
Painting

$5,539

Yoann Bonneville (YBA), Amethyste IX, Painting

Yoann Bonneville (YBA)

Amethyste IX, 2021
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,673

Francoise Augustine, Angel, Painting

Francoise Augustine

Angel, 2021
25.6 x 19.7 inch
Painting

$1,108

Milburn-Foster, Man Running 5, Painting

Milburn-Foster

Man Running 5, 2021
51.2 x 38.2 inch
Painting

$3,923

Etienne Quesnay, Night Blossoms, Painting

Etienne Quesnay

Night Blossoms, 2021
21.7 x 18.1 x 1 inch
Painting

$1,269

Serghei Ghetiu, Je suis ballerine VI, Painting

Serghei Ghetiu

Je suis ballerine VI, 2022
31.5 x 25.6 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,327

Ilana Gal, Untitled #C _215_12, Painting

Ilana Gal

Untitled #C _215_12, 2021
43.3 x 59.1 inch
Painting

$9,231

David Jamin, Portrait baroque, Painting

David Jamin

Portrait baroque, 2021
28.7 x 23.6 x 1 inch
Painting

$1,962

Our recommendations Miss Tic, La Vie Est Porcelaine, Painting

Miss Tic

La Vie Est Porcelaine, 2016
19.7 x 24 x 2 inch
Painting

$5,193

Uli Fischer, Colorful Emotions, Painting

Uli Fischer

Colorful Emotions, 2022
39.4 x 29.5 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$4,500 $4,275

Edu Danesi, Enjoy your Fucking Dinner, Painting

Edu Danesi

Enjoy your Fucking Dinner, 2022
39.4 x 39.4 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$3,577

SoRi, Coco IV, Painting

SoRi

Coco IV, 2021
13.8 x 10.6 inch
Painting

$796

Our recommendations Jacques Villeglé, Les Jeannes, Painting

Jacques Villeglé

Les Jeannes, 1998
25.6 x 31.9 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$28,848

Eric Doisy, Life, Painting

Eric Doisy

Life, 2022
31.5 x 23.6 x 0.4 inch
Painting

$808

Alexandr Klemens, Red Dress, Painting

Alexandr Klemens

Red Dress, 2020
34.3 x 14.2 inch
Painting

$565

Kajazun (Kajo) Avetisyan, Portraite III, Painting

Kajazun (Kajo) Avetisyan

Portraite III, 2021
5.5 x 5.5 inch
Painting

$173 $156

Diana Malivani, The Little Froggy, Painting

Diana Malivani

The Little Froggy, 2022
15.7 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,731

Gary John, Bejeweled Baroness, Painting

Gary John

Bejeweled Baroness, 2020
15 x 11 inch
Painting

$260

Caro Graffiti, Rêverie de Mary, Painting

Caro Graffiti

Rêverie de Mary, 2021
29.1 x 24 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$577

Our recommendations Hom Nguyen, Sisters, Painting

Hom Nguyen

Sisters, 2021
70.9 x 55.1 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$28,848

Hanna Chroboczek, Les Yeux Fermés, Painting

Hanna Chroboczek

Les Yeux Fermés, 2016
7.9 x 7.9 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$205

RogerM, Caprice, Painting

RogerM

Caprice, 2021
19.7 x 27.6 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$865

Our recommendations Peter Klasen, M.50, Painting

Peter Klasen

M.50, 1991
25.6 x 19.7 inch
Painting

$12,116

Our recommendations Nathalie Lemaître, L'accord du monde, Painting

Nathalie Lemaître

L'accord du monde, 2015
15.7 x 15.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,154

Wedad Alnasser, Resonant Self #3, Painting

Wedad Alnasser

Resonant Self #3, 2021
23.6 x 23.6 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$1,039

Our recommendations Alice de Miramon, Les éclipses solaires, Painting

Alice de Miramon

Les éclipses solaires, 2019
23.6 x 31.9 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$2,539

Our recommendations Laurence Gasior, Serge, Painting

Laurence Gasior

Serge, 2018
23.6 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,373

Irene Mahon, Regard sur l'univers, Painting

Irene Mahon

Regard sur l'univers, 2021
23.6 x 23.6 x 2 inch
Painting

$646

OverSide, Angel - White, Painting

OverSide

Angel - White, 2021
63 x 51.2 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$3,462 $3,116

Benjamin Vitrol Vautier Alvarez, Fury Future, Painting

Benjamin Vitrol Vautier Alvarez

Fury Future, 2021
28.7 x 21.3 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,142

Dane Shue, Wonder Woman, Painting

Dane Shue

Wonder Woman, 2021
36 x 36 inch
Painting

$1,920

Hope 1393, Alban, Painting

Hope 1393

Alban, 2020
39.4 x 31.9 x 1 inch
Painting

$923

O Gringo, The Queen - Blue, Painting

O Gringo

The Queen - Blue, 2022
19.7 x 19.7 x 3 inch
Painting

$1,731

Chantal Longeon, Le charme du parfum des fleurs, Painting

Chantal Longeon

Le charme du parfum des fleurs, 2021
27.6 x 27.6 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,385

Yannick Aaron, Frida blue, Painting

Yannick Aaron

Frida blue, 2022
19.7 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$692

Zena Dabbous, Legend, Painting

Zena Dabbous

Legend, 2014
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$2,000

Yelena Sidorova, Walking the cat, Painting

Yelena Sidorova

Walking the cat, 2021
36 x 24 x 1.5 inch
Painting

$1,400

Lorena Fonsato, Euridice, Painting

Lorena Fonsato

Euridice, 2022
15.7 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$277

Our recommendations KiKo, Notre amitié, Painting

KiKo

Notre amitié, 2021
31.5 x 31.5 x 1 inch
Painting

$3,808

Marc Boffin, custom bill #1, Painting

Marc Boffin

custom bill #1, 2020
3 x 5.3 x 0 inch
Painting

$519

Milana Elkanova, My baby, Painting

Milana Elkanova

My baby, 2021
27.6 x 35.4 inch
Painting

$2,192 $1,535

Our recommendations Martine Fauve Dechavanne, Mes amours, Painting

Martine Fauve Dechavanne

Mes amours, 2021
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$2,077

John Emanuel, Classical Head, Painting

John Emanuel

Classical Head, 2021
8.25 x 7 x 0.5 inch
Painting

$1,096

Vidia Ganase, Sun setting, Painting

Vidia Ganase

Sun setting, 2021
36.2 x 25.6 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,846

Max Markwald, Jason as Rosie, Painting

Max Markwald

Jason as Rosie, 2021
36 x 19 x 3 inch
Painting

$1,500

Zombie Girl, Zombie girl and slingshot, Painting

Zombie Girl

Zombie girl and slingshot, 2021
35.4 x 27.6 inch
Painting

$2,077 $1,454

Our recommendations Jazzu, Se contenir, Painting

Jazzu

Se contenir, 2021
36.2 x 25.6 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$2,539

Ramiro Baptista, Survivors, Painting

Ramiro Baptista

Survivors, 2021
39.4 x 39.4 inch
Painting

$1,154

Guy Ghazanchyan, Untitled from Witness of War Series, Painting

Guy Ghazanchyan

Untitled from Witness of War Series, 2021
25.6 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,700

Leonardo Aliaga, Sailor, Painting

Leonardo Aliaga

Sailor, 2021
31.5 x 23.6 inch
Painting

$808

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