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Portraits

Portraiture is one of the earliest genres of art and its style has significantly evolved throughout the ages. Given our inherent fascination with other humans, portraiture has been a preeminent theme within the visual arts. For a long time, having an artwork that depicted one's likeness was reserved for an elite. For those in power, from Pharaohs to Emperors, portraits were a way of conveying their power and status. This tradition was carried on during the Renaissance, particularly within the Italian and French nobility. By the time of the Baroque era, the quiet everyday life scenes of ordinary people started to spark some interest for a few artists, with iconic artworks such as Dutch master Johannes Vermeer's 1658 oil painting Milkmaid. In the mid-19th century, figurative art was transformed by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. Truly radical for their time, the artists broke the conventions by exploring the possibilities that bold colours and swirling lines could offer. 

The Impressionists paved the way for new avenues of representation and expression, picked up by 20th-century modern painters, like Henri Matisse, Edvard Munch, or most famously Pablo Picasso. From lines to colours to shapes - all the aesthetic conventions that had restrained the art of figurative paintings were challenged. The sitter's personality, their emotion and their inner psyche became as important, if not more, than their physical appearance, which led artists to move towards more conceptual and abstract styles. These same changes were applied to artworks depicting the body. 

Photography is also an important medium in portraiture. Andy Warhol's pop art created a fascination for the celebrity portrait with his colourful Marilyn Monroe. Artists quickly understood the influence wielded by celebrities. An icon can be representative of a whole era: Marilyn Monroe represented the glamorous Hollywood of the 50s, Serge Gainsbourg the scandalous French 60s, and fashion model Twiggy the British pop 60s. From actors to singers, models to dancers, there is something genuinely emblematic about celebrities and their faces that we know so well.

Carole Benichou's Pop Art-inspired portrait paintings gives new life to 60s and 70s pop icons, like Claudia Schiffer or Brigitte Bardot. Alternatively, get inspired by Genevieve Gaignard's self-portrait photographs and her kitsch aesthetic. She plays with the conventions of low-brow American culture in a humorous way and sheds light on some of its injustice. 

Browse Artsper's themed selections to discover the best of contemporary portraits and artworks dedicated to the human body, from black and white photography to nude sculpture and stunning paintings. 

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Our recommendations Pairoj Karndee, Summer winds, Painting

Pairoj Karndee

Summer winds, 2013
39.4 x 31.5 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$4,958

Eugène Bégarat, By the Pool, Painting

Eugène Bégarat

By the Pool, 2014
25.6 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$6,020

Sébastien  Layral, 577 INO ONI Émilie & Mathieu, Painting

Sébastien Layral

577 INO ONI Émilie & Mathieu, 2013
98.4 x 78.7 x 2 inch
Painting

$23,727

Sébastien  Layral, 558 INO ONI Violaine, Painting

Sébastien Layral

558 INO ONI Violaine, 2013
51.2 x 38.2 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$7,083

Zalez, Point, Painting

Zalez

Point, 2013
39.4 x 39.4 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$2,479

Francine Van Hove, La petite lampe 1930, Painting

Francine Van Hove

La petite lampe 1930, 2008
21.3 x 31.9 inch
Painting

$15,346

Sergio Ceccotti, Clair-obscur, Painting

Sergio Ceccotti

Clair-obscur, 2008
31.9 x 39.4 inch
Painting

$6,847

Sergio Ceccotti, Intérieur, soir, Painting

Sergio Ceccotti

Intérieur, soir, 2006
39.4 x 31.9 inch
Painting

$6,847

Francine Van Hove, Un peu de rouge, Painting

Francine Van Hove

Un peu de rouge, 2011
19.7 x 25.6 inch
Painting

$12,985

Philippe Huart, Psychose, Painting

Philippe Huart

Psychose, 2013
47.2 x 47.2 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$11,214

Mireille Arbellot, Psyché, Painting

Mireille Arbellot

Psyché, 2015
57.5 x 47.2 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$5,430

Our recommendations Zalez, King, Drawing

Zalez

King, 2015
29.9 x 20.9 x 0.8 inch
Drawing

$1,535

Zalez, Flying Dirt Leopard, Painting

Zalez

Flying Dirt Leopard, 2014
51.2 x 38.2 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$3,659

Zalez, Orange Juice, Painting

Zalez

Orange Juice, 2014
28.7 x 23.6 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$2,243

Zalez, Shirt, Painting

Zalez

Shirt, 2014
29.9 x 20.9 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,889

Francine Van Hove, Les deux belles, Painting

Francine Van Hove

Les deux belles, 2012
36.2 x 28.7 inch
Painting

$20,304

Our recommendations Franck Bouroullec, Cabu, Painting

Franck Bouroullec

Cabu, 2016
63 x 37.8 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$5,902

Adrien Belgrand, Suwan, Painting

Adrien Belgrand

Suwan, 2014
8.7 x 13 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,889

Boreli, Point, Painting

Boreli

Point, 2014
51.2 x 35 inch
Painting

$2,361

Thomas Saliot, Close-up Bath, Painting

Thomas Saliot

Close-up Bath, 2015
55.1 x 55.1 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$4,958

Remi Bertoche, Marin boys, Painting

Remi Bertoche

Marin boys, 2015
48 x 32.3 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$5,902

Our recommendations Francine Van Hove, Le Petit Kougelhopf, Painting

Francine Van Hove

Le Petit Kougelhopf, 2015
19.7 x 19.7 inch
Painting

$11,214

Isabelle Zutter, Volupté, Painting

Isabelle Zutter

Volupté, 2016
39.4 x 31.9 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$2,833

Charlotte Barrault, Justine, Painting

Charlotte Barrault

Justine, 2016
39.4 x 31.9 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$2,125

Eleonora Drumeva, The First Night of the Red Dress, Painting

Eleonora Drumeva

The First Night of the Red Dress, 2014
55.1 x 51.2 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$4,722

Kamil Lisek, Red Kite, Painting

Kamil Lisek

Red Kite, 2012
55.1 x 31.5 inch
Painting

$4,368

Silvia Papas, Spring time, Painting

Silvia Papas

Spring time, 2016
47.2 x 23.6 x 2 inch
Painting

$5,312

Silvia Papas, Paris night crossing, Painting

Silvia Papas

Paris night crossing, 2016
47.2 x 31.5 x 2 inch
Painting

$5,902

Enitram, Inoubliable Grace Kelly, Painting

Enitram

Inoubliable Grace Kelly, 2012
36.2 x 28.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$4,486

Jin Bo, Look the other side in the passage of time, Painting

Jin Bo

Look the other side in the passage of time, 2014
33.9 x 57.1 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$8,853

Jin Bo, Window, Painting

Jin Bo

Window, 2013
36.2 x 81.1 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$14,166

Sarah Picon, Nu, Painting

Sarah Picon

Nu, 2011
10.6 x 8.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$319

Eugène Bégarat, Lauren dans l'escalier, Painting

Eugène Bégarat

Lauren dans l'escalier, 2013
25.6 x 36.2 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$5,312

Nick Lord, Sophie Dahl, Painting

Nick Lord

Sophie Dahl, 2014
42.5 x 41.3 x 2 inch
Painting

$20,353

Eric Zener, One, Painting

Eric Zener

One, 2008
59.8 x 70.1 inch
Painting

$112,144

Markora, After Hours, Painting

Markora

After Hours, 2014
23.6 x 31.5 inch
Painting

$11,214

Bluzot Philippe, Rencontre nocturne, Painting

Bluzot Philippe

Rencontre nocturne, 2015
38.2 x 51.2 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$3,305

Bluzot Philippe, Banlieue (4) la nuit venue, Painting

Bluzot Philippe

Banlieue (4) la nuit venue, 2012
57.5 x 44.9 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$3,777

Assunta Genovesio, Anna sous la lumière d'hiver, Painting

Assunta Genovesio

Anna sous la lumière d'hiver, 2016
24 x 24 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$2,007

Patricia Debuchy, A deux, Painting

Patricia Debuchy

A deux, 2016
51.2 x 38.2 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$4,486

Marek Okrassa, Nude, Painting

Marek Okrassa

Nude, 2008
25.6 x 21.3 x 0.4 inch
Painting

$1,180

Samy Briss, Les oiseaux en famille, Painting

Samy Briss

Les oiseaux en famille, 2017
29.9 x 15 inch
Painting

$7,083

Marek Okrassa, Ball at the patio, Painting

Marek Okrassa

Ball at the patio, 2013
35.4 x 39.4 inch
Painting

$4,604

Alexandrine Deshayes, Urban Jungle II, Painting

Alexandrine Deshayes

Urban Jungle II, 2013
51.2 x 38.2 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$7,673

Marta Kunikowska-Mikulska, Concert, Painting

Marta Kunikowska-Mikulska

Concert, 2016
51.2 x 70.9 inch
Painting

$2,479

Fawzi Brachemi, Femmes d’Alger, Painting

Fawzi Brachemi

Femmes d’Alger, 2001
28.7 x 39.4 inch
Painting

$4,250

Fawzi Brachemi, Toilette intime, Painting

Fawzi Brachemi

Toilette intime, 2006
27.6 x 27.6 inch
Painting

$3,400

Fawzi Brachemi, Henné 3, Painting

Fawzi Brachemi

Henné 3, 2015
28.7 x 23.6 inch
Painting

$1,806

Jacques-Antoine de Dampierre, 3 prostituées d'un bordel, Painting

Jacques-Antoine de Dampierre

3 prostituées d'un bordel, 1940
35 x 45.7 inch
Painting

Sold out

André Deymonaz, La Tablée, Painting

André Deymonaz

La Tablée, 2016
38.2 x 51.2 x 2 inch
Painting

$6,965

Virginie Mézan de Malartic, Tifany, Painting

Virginie Mézan de Malartic

Tifany, 2015
36.2 x 28.7 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$2,597

Keith O'Connor, Pure, Painting

Keith O'Connor

Pure, 2017
39.4 x 39.4 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$3,777

Joaquim Falcó, Farfalla, Painting

Joaquim Falcó

Farfalla, 2013
13.4 x 13 x 2 inch
Painting

$590

Bastien Cuenot, Wild World, Sculpture

Bastien Cuenot

Wild World, 2013
9.8 x 7.9 x 7.9 inch
Sculpture

$3,305

Otto D'Ambra, Standing Dreamer, Print

Otto D'Ambra

Standing Dreamer, 2014
17.7 x 11.8 inch
Print

$295

Otto D'Ambra, Modern Anatomy #1, Print

Otto D'Ambra

Modern Anatomy #1, 2014
15.4 x 11 inch
Print

$342

Otto D'Ambra, The Death, Print

Otto D'Ambra

The Death, 2013
16.5 x 11 inch
Print

$266

Jacked Pastureau, Ah Ah Puch, Sculpture

Jacked Pastureau

Ah Ah Puch, 2015
90.6 x 9.8 x 7.9 inch
Sculpture

$2,538

Stan, Vanities and butterflies, Painting

Stan

Vanities and butterflies, 2014
47.2 x 39.4 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$4,014

Thierry Chassagnac, Calavera, Sculpture

Thierry Chassagnac

Calavera, 2014
7.9 x 7.9 x 5.9 inch
Sculpture

$1,771

60 Artworks on 463

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