• $ (USD)
  • Need some help ?

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 standardized 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 revolutionized 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 center 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 16th 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 Gustav 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 PasquaRobert CombasGuangyu Dai and Erró on Artsper.

Read more


Saved search

Your search is accessible from the favorites tab > My favorite searches

Unsaved search

A problem occurred

In just a few clicks, tell us your preferences and discover our recommended works for you

Gabrielle Rul, Bored O’Clock, Painting

Gabrielle Rul

Bored O’Clock, 2022 116 x 89 x 3 cm Painting


Our recommendations Éric Odartey, Ataa Adjoa, Painting

Éric Odartey

Ataa Adjoa, 2022 102 x 77 x 5 cm Painting


Our recommendations Aliénor de Montalivet, Sensible Ruin, Painting

Aliénor de Montalivet

Sensible Ruin, 2022 76 x 61 x 4 cm Painting


Patricia Simsa, Le sac à pois, Painting

Patricia Simsa

Le sac à pois, 2022 65 x 50 x 5 cm Painting

$1,728 $1,555

Our recommendations Bara Sketchbook, Untitled, Painting

Bara Sketchbook

Untitled, 2022 30 x 30 x 2 cm Painting


Jazzu, Treasure, Painting


Treasure, 2022 50 x 50 x 4 cm Painting


Our recommendations Jéko, Petite glace, Painting


Petite glace, 2022 92 x 73 x 2 cm Painting


Our recommendations Ponthep Supunsaleekul, Superman, Painting

Ponthep Supunsaleekul

Superman, 2020 50 x 50 x 4 cm Painting


Our recommendations AE2, Sous l’eau, Painting


Sous l’eau, 2020 89 x 130 x 4 cm Painting


Jose Ricardo Contreras Gonzalez, George W. Bush gifts Jay Leno a portrait of Jay Leno, Painting

Jose Ricardo Contreras Gonzalez

George W. Bush gifts Jay Leno a portrait of Jay Leno, 2018 50 x 40 x 0.3 cm Painting


Our recommendations Zena Blackwell, Sitting Pretty, Painting

Zena Blackwell

Sitting Pretty, 2022 45 x 45 x 3.5 cm Painting


Cathie Berthon, Matisse, Painting

Cathie Berthon

Matisse, 2021 50 x 50 x 2 cm Painting


Etienne Quesnay, Visite à Jacquemart-André, Painting

Etienne Quesnay

Visite à Jacquemart-André, 2022 65 x 54 cm Painting


Marta Grassi, Cercle n°1, Painting

Marta Grassi

Cercle n°1, 2021 60 x 60 x 2 cm Painting


Alejandro Paz Vales, Tache, Painting

Alejandro Paz Vales

Tache, 2020 80 x 50 x 4 cm Painting


Azeez Abiodun Nafiu, Sweet Sixteen, Painting

Azeez Abiodun Nafiu

Sweet Sixteen, 2022 78 x 63 cm Painting


Antonio Ogáyar, Satisfacción, Painting

Antonio Ogáyar

Satisfacción, 2021 27 x 32 x 0.1 cm Painting


Alice de Miramon, Light - Botanical gardens series, Painting

Alice de Miramon

Light - Botanical gardens series, 2019 26 x 20 cm Painting


Egle Karpaviciute, Self-portrait, Painting

Egle Karpaviciute

Self-portrait, 2022 40 x 30 x 2 cm Painting


Nicolas Benedetti, Sans titre #1, Painting

Nicolas Benedetti

Sans titre #1, 2022 120 x 80 x 2 cm Painting


Yoann Merienne, Euphorbia, portrait, Painting

Yoann Merienne

Euphorbia, portrait, 2022 70 x 50 cm Painting


Spaco, Maria Callas, Painting


Maria Callas, 2022 30 x 30 x 2 cm Painting


Miss.Tic, Je Crois En L’Eternel Féminin, Painting


Je Crois En L’Eternel Féminin, 2017 122 x 50 x 3 cm Painting


Marta Zawadzka, Savana, Painting

Marta Zawadzka

Savana, 2019 100 x 110 x 2 cm Painting


Wawapod, Blue Roy, Painting


Blue Roy, 2022 100 x 100 x 2 cm Painting


Jade Mouge, La lune, Painting

Jade Mouge

La lune, 2022 100 x 81 x 3 cm Painting

$1,257 $1,131

Hom Nguyen, Un monde meilleur, Painting

Hom Nguyen

Un monde meilleur, 2022 80 x 60 x 1 cm Painting


R. Cavalié, N° 990 A rebours., Painting

R. Cavalié

N° 990 A rebours., 2016 60 x 81 x 2 cm Painting


Gago Chtchyan, Portrait, Painting

Gago Chtchyan

Portrait, 2017 50 x 50 x 2 cm Painting


AKET, Prendre le large, Painting


Prendre le large, 2022 61 x 50 x 2 cm Painting


Ender, Une pièce s'il vous plait, Painting


Une pièce s'il vous plait, 2021 41 x 33 x 2 cm Painting


Anastasia Kurakina, Portrait of a Girl, Painting

Anastasia Kurakina

Portrait of a Girl, 2010 40 x 60 x 1 cm Painting


Jacek Cyganek, In the forest, Painting

Jacek Cyganek

In the forest, 2022 80 x 100 x 2 cm Painting


Pamela Enyonu, Ajai, Painting

Pamela Enyonu

Ajai, 2022 155 x 125 x 5 cm Painting


Adam Norgaard, Festive Night, Painting

Adam Norgaard

Festive Night, 2022 69 x 54 x 0.1 cm Painting


Guy Lyman, Family Portrait, Painting

Guy Lyman

Family Portrait, 2022 76.2 x 61 x 2.5 cm Painting


Tim K., Dalí, Painting

Tim K.

Dalí, 2021 60 x 60 cm Painting


Brian McDonald, Lady With An Attitude, Painting

Brian McDonald

Lady With An Attitude, 2018 45.7 x 45.7 x 2.5 cm Painting


Jean-Jacques Venturini, Le gramophone, Painting

Jean-Jacques Venturini

Le gramophone, 2022 60 x 73 x 3 cm Painting


Lotte Teussink, Swimster, Painting

Lotte Teussink

Swimster, 2020 76 x 56 cm Painting


Phybra, La madone de la nuit, Painting


La madone de la nuit, 2021 60 x 50 x 2 cm Painting


Cécile Desserle, To let myself flow, Painting

Cécile Desserle

To let myself flow, 2022 116 x 89 x 2 cm Painting


Izabela Galazka, Employees 2, Painting

Izabela Galazka

Employees 2, 2020 50 x 70 x 1 cm Painting


Pierre Bejoint, J’veux partager ton ciel, Painting

Pierre Bejoint

J’veux partager ton ciel, 2020 90 x 90 x 5 cm Painting


Ventzislav Dikov, Express Yourself, Painting

Ventzislav Dikov

Express Yourself, 2022 70 x 50 x 2 cm Painting


Marina Niko, New heroes, Painting

Marina Niko

New heroes, 2020 73 x 54 x 0.2 cm Painting


Serghei Ghetiu, The roses from unknown II, Painting

Serghei Ghetiu

The roses from unknown II, 2022 80 x 65 x 2 cm Painting


Josep Tornero, Untitled, Painting

Josep Tornero

Untitled, 2021 24 x 40 cm Painting


Philippe Seigle, Shinju, Painting

Philippe Seigle

Shinju, 2022 81 x 65 cm Painting


Christiane Bernais, Dans le hamac, Painting

Christiane Bernais

Dans le hamac, 2009 46 x 55 x 2 cm Painting


Pierre Migot, Chessboard, Painting

Pierre Migot

Chessboard, 2021 80 x 65 x 2.5 cm Painting


Ilcho Arsenioski, Dyptique David, Painting

Ilcho Arsenioski

Dyptique David, 2022 120 x 80 x 3 cm Painting


Laurent Anastay-Ponsolle, Ne faire plus qu'un #2, Painting

Laurent Anastay-Ponsolle

Ne faire plus qu'un #2, 2022 50 x 65 x 0.1 cm Painting


Clement Garnung, Regardons la réalité en face, Painting

Clement Garnung

Regardons la réalité en face, 2021 155 x 60 x 2 cm Painting


Francis L'Huillier, Le voyageur, Painting

Francis L'Huillier

Le voyageur, 2020 80 x 80 x 2 cm Painting


Odile Pinto-Corbin, La fête, Painting

Odile Pinto-Corbin

La fête, 2022 50 x 50 x 3 cm Painting


La Chouette, Confiance, Painting

La Chouette

Confiance, 2022 45.5 x 38 x 2 cm Painting


LeFrench, World face, Painting


World face, 2021 100 x 70 x 2 cm Painting


Maldha Mohamed, Obsidion, Painting

Maldha Mohamed

Obsidion, 2022 30 x 50 cm Painting


Wedad Alnasser, Resonant Self, Painting

Wedad Alnasser

Resonant Self, 2022 47 x 40 x 3 cm Painting


Mario Henrique, Ballerina No. 1, Series XX, Painting

Mario Henrique

Ballerina No. 1, Series XX, 2022 65 x 50 cm Painting


Mariana Gumeniuc, Soul Reflection, Painting

Mariana Gumeniuc

Soul Reflection, 2022 80 x 60 x 4 cm Painting

$1,500 $1,350

Flo Jaouen, Qu'est ce qu'on attend 7, Painting

Flo Jaouen

Qu'est ce qu'on attend 7, 2018 100 x 100 x 2 cm Painting


Our recommendations Didier Lourenço, Spring afternoon, Painting

Didier Lourenço

Spring afternoon, 2021 120 x 120 cm Painting


Our recommendations Pascal Marlin, Femme au fauteuil, Painting

Pascal Marlin

Femme au fauteuil, 2022 51 x 39 x 0.3 cm Painting


Lidia Wiencek, Woman in a green dress, Painting

Lidia Wiencek

Woman in a green dress, 2002 90 x 81 cm Painting


François Dupuis, Visage, Painting

François Dupuis

Visage, 2021 41 x 33 x 4 cm Painting


Roman Gulman, Palesa, Painting

Roman Gulman

Palesa, 2022 120 x 80 x 2 cm Painting


Dima Filatov, Selfie from Europe, Painting

Dima Filatov

Selfie from Europe, 2022 120 x 73 x 0.5 cm Painting


Our recommendations Bruno Antony, Perceptions bleues sur fil de regard, Painting

Bruno Antony

Perceptions bleues sur fil de regard, 2021 100 x 100 x 3 cm Painting


C215, Borsalino, Painting


Borsalino, 2021 100 x 120 x 0.3 cm Painting


Natalija Vincic, Rose moon gift, Painting

Natalija Vincic

Rose moon gift, 2022 50 x 50 x 3 cm Painting


Our recommendations Béatrice Terra, Je me fonds dans le décor, Painting

Béatrice Terra

Je me fonds dans le décor, 2022 100 x 81 x 2 cm Painting


Discover the styles & movements
  • Discover the selection of our experts

Discover our personalized selection for you

See my personal selection
See my recommendations
Discover our thematic selections