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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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price,500 facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|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 category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Gemälde*gemalde category,6*Pintura*pintura facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes facet,10500*Werke von aufstrebenden Künstlern|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*Abstract*abstract facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*moyen facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*grand facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos price,1001:5000 facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulptur*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Fotografie*fotografie category,9*Fotografía*fotografia facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1671*Nature*nature facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,1644*Retrato*retrato price,1000:501 facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos facet,1827*Portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato*orientation-retrato category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Zeichnung*zeichnung category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing category,23*Dibujo*dibujo facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)*tres-grand 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*Print*print category,15*Druck*editionen category,15*Edición*edicion facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,1830*Paysage*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Paisaje*orientation-paisaje facet,1830*Landschaft*orientation-landschaft 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*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Etchleben*etchleben facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,1680*Tier*tier facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 20 x 20 inch)*petit facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)*petit facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 20 x 20 inch)|small*petit facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1668*Blanco y negro*blanco-y-negro facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large price,5001:10000 facet,1632*Architecture*architecture facet,1632*Arquitectura*arquitectura facet,1632*Die Architektur*die-architektur price,50001 facet,1650*Paysage urbain*paysage-urbain facet,1650*Städtische Landschaft*stadtische-landschaft facet,1650*Urban Landscape*urban-landscape facet,1650*Paisaje urbano*paisaje-urbano facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,108*Öl*ol facet,108*huile*huile facet,108*oil*oil facet,108*al oleo*al-oleo facet,126*acrylique*acrylique facet,126*acrylic*acrylic facet,126*Acryl-*acryl facet,126*acrílico*acrilico price,10001:25000 facet,42*Rouge|FC2912*rouge facet,42*Red|FC2912*red facet,42*rot|FC2912*rot facet,42*Rojo|FC2912*rojo facet,12*noir|050002*noir facet,12*Black|050002*black facet,12*schwarz|050002*schwarz facet,12*negro|050002*negro facet,1692*Géométrique*geometrique facet,1692*Geometric*geometric facet,1692*Geometrisch*geometrisch facet,1692*Geometría*geometria price,25001:50000 facet,1656*Graphique*graphique facet,1656*Grafik*grafik facet,1656*Graphic*graphic facet,1656*Gráfico*grafico
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Alice de Miramon, Le guitariste, Fine Art Drawings

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Maurice Barraud, Jeune femme à moitié allongée, Fine Art Drawings

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Mathilde Polidori, Light Anxiety - Etude, Fine Art Drawings

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Irina Yakovleva, Matilda, Fine Art Drawings

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Mino Maccari, At the Beach, Fine Art Drawings

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Bartolhomew, Jean- Michel Basquiat, Fine Art Drawings

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Silvia Cuello, Special little girl, Fine Art Drawings

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P. Salvan, Les yeux vairons, Fine Art Drawings

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Pierre Alechinsky, Sans-titre, Fine Art Drawings

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Daniel Clyde McMurry, House of Shards, Fine Art Drawings

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

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Alekos Fassianos, La divine Hellade I, Fine Art Drawings

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Jéko, Regard à droite, Fine Art Drawings

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Our recommendations Sandra Chevrier, Untitled 14, Fine Art Drawings

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Our recommendations Jolanta Johnsson, Together, Fine Art Drawings

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Rudyard Heaton, Sans titre 11 (DED359709), Fine Art Drawings

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Raphaël Federici (ParisSketchCulture), Dessin, Fine Art Drawings

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Nef, Dispersion, Fine Art Drawings

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

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Joanna Wiszniewska Domanska, Wind, Fine Art Drawings

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Saverio Filioli Uranio, Sketch 3, Fine Art Drawings

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Pascal Marlin, Costume folklorique, Fine Art Drawings

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Carmen Selma, L'entrée pour les garçons (la rentrée des garçons), Fine Art Drawings

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Untitled, 2016
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Roland Devolder, La rencontre, Fine Art Drawings

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La rencontre, 2014
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Paulina Maksjan, Magic, Fine Art Drawings

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Adam Niemczyc, Letter to Hieronymus Bosch, Fine Art Drawings

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