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Portrait Drawing

Portraiture has existed for many centuries. The Greeks produced portraits for funeral and religious rituals; they aimed to “bring back to life those who have passed away.” In the Roman era, portraits were often reserved for the ruling figures of society; for example, a warrior would have his portrait painted to illustrate his bravery during a battle. In Europe, it is only during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance that Italian and Flemish painters started to practice the art of portraiture.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, painters created works commissioned by wealthy patrons. Painters sketched out preliminary freehand drawings, which were often then approved by the patron, before beginning to work on their oil paint or, later, watercolour. Facial features were sometimes improved to the detriment of realism, although some painters were known for their ability to reproduce their models’ expressions. Some artists worked in great detail while others focussed more heavily on trying to capture the real personality of their model.

For much of its history, portrait not only told a story but it also conveyed a message of power, promoting a well-controlled image to the wider population and establishing the sitter’s authority through its circulation. For example, Florentine elites would use paintings and drawings as a mean of controlling their image and establishing their authority. Portraits were a way for someone to live on long after their death. Today we find the faces of aristocracies and the European bourgeoisie in many museums, immortalised by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci or Rembrandt.

The results obtained through drawing depended largely on the tools and materials used. Red chalk was very popular (especially at the beginning of the 16th century) to represent the facial features and the warmth of the skin, while charcoal produced harder lines and pastel created a softer, colourful touch. Artists adapted their technique depending on the subject and the emotion they wanted to convey. The commercialisation of pencils in the nineteenth century made it a popular medium for artists and amateurs alike. Pencil art became more popular and the tool was often used for sketching portraits.

One thing is certain; capturing facial expressions is a demanding art form and the art of portraiture requires a lot of practice. Drawing a face down to its finest details may take hours to obtain the desired result: a protruding jaw, the shape of a skull, thick brows, smiling eyes, dilated pupils… Even more difficult, are children’s portraits? It can be difficult to get them to stay still for long. The artist has to be skilled enough to immortalise these men, women and children full of life.

Gradually, sketched portraits became less and less realistic but increasingly daring and experimental in terms of colour. On Artsper, discover drawings by Jean Cocteau, Julien Calot, Alice de Miramon, Philippe Pasqua, Sabine Danzé, Bahareh Navabi and Stéphanie Stindel.

Collector’s Guide: Collecting Drawings

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Valérie Hadida, Dans les nuages, Fine Art Drawings

Valérie Hadida

Dans les nuages, 2021
82 x 75 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$3,029

Etienne Quesnay, La cueillette, Fine Art Drawings

Etienne Quesnay

La cueillette, 2021
80 x 60 x 0.4 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$1,030

Gwendoline Hausermann, Lutteuses #1, Fine Art Drawings

Gwendoline Hausermann

Lutteuses #1, 2020
21 x 29 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$909

Alexandre Granger, Génération Z, Fine Art Drawings

Alexandre Granger

Génération Z, 2021
40 x 60 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$3,514

Valentine Burlan, Comtesse PiouPiou, Fine Art Drawings

Valentine Burlan

Comtesse PiouPiou, 2019
45 x 30 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$96

Julien Cuny, Le Matador, Fine Art Drawings

Julien Cuny

Le Matador, 2021
65 x 50 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$339

Jean-Louis Lopes, Jessica, Fine Art Drawings

Jean-Louis Lopes

Jessica, 2020
40 x 30 x 2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$418

Jéko, Portrait #3, Fine Art Drawings

Jéko

Portrait #3, 2020
29.7 x 21 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$460

Alekos Fassianos, La divine Hellade I, Fine Art Drawings

Alekos Fassianos

La divine Hellade I, 2006
34 x 24.8 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$3,029

Yves Brayer, La Masque, Fine Art Drawings

Yves Brayer

La Masque, 1943
24 x 18.5 x 0.3 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$1,042

Nora Ampova, Venus in a Trans, Fine Art Drawings

Nora Ampova

Venus in a Trans, 2020
20 x 20 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$145

Pierre Alechinsky, Sans-titre, Fine Art Drawings

Pierre Alechinsky

Sans-titre, 2016
27.5 x 18.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$4,241

Gabrielle Rul, Les gens de passage, Fine Art Drawings

Gabrielle Rul

Les gens de passage, 2021
23 x 31 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$363

Sergio Moscona, Arbol genial - Logico, Fine Art Drawings

Sergio Moscona

Arbol genial - Logico, 2016
56 x 38 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$3,635

Sandra Chevrier, Untitled 14, Fine Art Drawings

Sandra Chevrier

Untitled 14, 2018
60 x 48 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$6,300

Guy Denning, Parisien history drawing (et Hocquenghem a dit), Fine Art Drawings

Guy Denning

Parisien history drawing (et Hocquenghem a dit), 2018
29 x 39 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$884

Our recommendations Nicola Simbari, The Girl, Fine Art Drawings

Nicola Simbari

The Girl, 1960
30 x 23 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$909

Raphaël Federici (ParisSketchCulture), Dessin, Fine Art Drawings

Raphaël Federici (ParisSketchCulture)

Dessin, 2019
37 x 27 x 0.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$414 $460

Rudyard Heaton, Sans titre 14 (DED359712), Fine Art Drawings

Rudyard Heaton

Sans titre 14 (DED359712), 2018
30 x 40 x 0.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$291

Anastasia Kurakina, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Anastasia Kurakina

Portrait, 2018
24 x 27 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$424

Katsuko Kuroya, Untitled (DEC355458), Fine Art Drawings

Katsuko Kuroya

Untitled (DEC355458), 2017
30 x 30 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$194

Henri Fehr, Portrait de femme, Fine Art Drawings

Henri Fehr

Portrait de femme, 1902
27 x 20 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$428

Amedeo Modigliani, Figure of a Seated Man, Fine Art Drawings

Amedeo Modigliani

Figure of a Seated Man, 1916
42 x 27 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$127,945 $159,932

Mara, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Mara

Sans titre, 2019
105 x 75.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$606

Chrystèle Saint-Amaux, Saynète 32 - Se Souvenir du temps qui passe, Fine Art Drawings

Chrystèle Saint-Amaux

Saynète 32 - Se Souvenir du temps qui passe, 2016
41 x 61 x 0.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$727

Kashink, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Kashink

Sans titre, 2019
57 x 35 x 1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$727

Virginie Remillieux, Faces n°4, Fine Art Drawings

Virginie Remillieux

Faces n°4, 2019
60 x 50 x 0.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$666

Hubert Yencesse, Portrait of Woman, Fine Art Drawings

Hubert Yencesse

Portrait of Woman, 1951
25 x 19 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$460

Jérôme Bouscarat, L'Hydre de Lerne, Fine Art Drawings

Jérôme Bouscarat

L'Hydre de Lerne, 2019
40 x 30 x 0.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$523

Sergio Barletta, Portrait of Guelfo Bianchini, Fine Art Drawings

Sergio Barletta

Portrait of Guelfo Bianchini, 1959
29 x 32 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$788

Kirill Postovit, The Portrait Of Autumn, Fine Art Drawings

Kirill Postovit

The Portrait Of Autumn, 2020
70 x 50 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$483

Olivier Massebeuf, Harvest, Fine Art Drawings

Olivier Massebeuf

Harvest, 2011
36 x 36 x 0.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$339

Arancha Tejedor, Personnages en mouvement 2, Fine Art Drawings

Arancha Tejedor

Personnages en mouvement 2, 2019
40 x 30 x 0.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$194

Erte Tirtoff, Miss Tapsy, Fine Art Drawings

Erte Tirtoff

Miss Tapsy, 1940
47.5 x 37 x 0.3 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$4,362

Christophe Faso, La dernière séance, Fine Art Drawings

Christophe Faso

La dernière séance, 2014
65 x 50 x 0.3 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$813

Kosta Kulundzic, Saint Sébastien, Fine Art Drawings

Kosta Kulundzic

Saint Sébastien, 2008
100 x 70 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$2,181

Stéphane Gisclard, Belle de dos, Fine Art Drawings

Stéphane Gisclard

Belle de dos, 2017
65 x 50 x 1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$3,150

Guelfo Bianchini, Women, Fine Art Drawings

Guelfo Bianchini

Women, 1961
50.5 x 36 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$969

Pablo Picasso, Profil d'homme (recto); Deux hommes de profil (verso), Fine Art Drawings

Pablo Picasso

Profil d'homme (recto); Deux hommes de profil (verso), 1900
28.6 x 22.9 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$125,000

Flor David, A Theater Character, Fine Art Drawings

Flor David

A Theater Character, 1950
18 x 25.5 x 0.3 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$424

Nef, Melancolia, Fine Art Drawings

Nef

Melancolia, 2019
18 x 13 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$133

Alexandre Monteiro (Hopare), Portrait homme, Fine Art Drawings

Alexandre Monteiro (Hopare)

Portrait homme, 2011
50 x 41 x 1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$5,573

Jeanne Daour, A Couple, Fine Art Drawings

Jeanne Daour

A Couple, 1950
14.7 x 21 x 0.4 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$606

Alfred Pichon, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Alfred Pichon

Portrait, 1910
27 x 24 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$545

Gabriele Galantara, Austro-Hungarian Soldiers, Fine Art Drawings

Gabriele Galantara

Austro-Hungarian Soldiers, 1910
12.5 x 9 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$606

Mario Molinari, Idaspe, Fine Art Drawings

Mario Molinari

Idaspe, 1923
72.5 x 54 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$1,817

Laurent de Raucourt, Visage masque, Fine Art Drawings

Laurent de Raucourt

Visage masque, 2019
40 x 50 x 1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$1,454

Madeleine Sellier, Portrait of Woman, Fine Art Drawings

Madeleine Sellier

Portrait of Woman, 1950
24.5 x 17 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$485

François Chapuis, Portrait of Woman, Fine Art Drawings

François Chapuis

Portrait of Woman, 1970
55 x 39 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$1,939

Marika Gysbers, Liberty in progress, Fine Art Drawings

Marika Gysbers

Liberty in progress, 2020
40 x 30 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$1,139

Lajos Szalay, Caresse tempérée, Fine Art Drawings

Lajos Szalay

Caresse tempérée, 1970
31 x 24.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$4,725

Laurina Paperina, Man in a Bowler Hat vs Pigeon, Fine Art Drawings

Laurina Paperina

Man in a Bowler Hat vs Pigeon, 2017
25 x 20 x 2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$1,212

Albert Fernand-Renault, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Albert Fernand-Renault

Portrait, 1930
56 x 42 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$606

Nino Cordio, Girl, Fine Art Drawings

Nino Cordio

Girl, 1964
44.5 x 31 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$666

Markus Lüpertz, Vision de Poussin, Fine Art Drawings

Markus Lüpertz

Vision de Poussin, 2012
70 x 94 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$9,269

Serge Fontinsky, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Serge Fontinsky

Portrait, 1943
35.5 x 23.6 x 0.3 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$703

Jean Dreyfus-Stern, Portrait of Boy, Fine Art Drawings

Jean Dreyfus-Stern

Portrait of Boy, 1930
37 x 32 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$424

Gérard Traquandi, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Gérard Traquandi

Sans titre, 2016
23 x 14.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$485

Roland Devolder, La rencontre, Fine Art Drawings

Roland Devolder

La rencontre, 2014
29 x 40 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$1,454

Carmen Selma, L'entrée pour les garçons, Fine Art Drawings

Carmen Selma

L'entrée pour les garçons, 2018
29.5 x 40 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$578

François Bard, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

François Bard

Sans titre, 2009
74 x 104 x 3 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$21,809

Bruno Angoletta, Arabic Prince, Fine Art Drawings

Bruno Angoletta

Arabic Prince, 1920
14.5 x 5 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$545

Emile Hugon, L'Ainglon, Fine Art Drawings

Emile Hugon

L'Ainglon, 1929
17 x 13 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$606

Paul Charles Delaroche, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Paul Charles Delaroche

Portrait, 1910
32.5 x 22 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings

$606

60 Artworks on 2129

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