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Portrait Painting for Sale

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.

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Enigmatic appearance of myself in an other's dream, Vladimir Kolosov

Enigmatic appearance of myself in an other's dream

Vladimir Kolosov

Painting - 121.9 x 91.4 x 2 cm

€1,847

Le mexicain, AKET

Le mexicain

AKET

Painting - 92 x 73 x 2 cm

€1,297

Petite glace, Jéko

Petite glace

Jéko

Painting - 92 x 73 x 2 cm

€2,200

Frida, Capocci

Frida

Capocci

Painting - 100 x 100 x 3.5 cm

€2,500

Same Rights, Shake

Same Rights

Shake

Painting - 80 x 80 x 4 cm

€990

Sous les toits de Paris, Laps

Sous les toits de Paris

Laps

Painting - 92 x 65 x 2 cm

€1,526

Retour à la Lumière, Jazzu

Retour à la Lumière

Jazzu

Painting - 46 x 38 x 10 cm

€950

Street Market, Leo Guida

Street Market

Leo Guida

Painting - 70 x 70 x 3 cm

€1,400

Léon, Pitu

Léon

Pitu

Painting - 100 x 80 x 2 cm

€1,800

Un jour, Mon Prince Viendra, Toctoc

Un jour, Mon Prince Viendra

Toctoc

Painting - 33 x 41 x 2 cm

€800

Son courage à deux mains, JM Robert

Son courage à deux mains

JM Robert

Painting - 81 x 65 x 3 cm

€2,800

Je Crois En L’Eternel Féminin, Miss.Tic

Je Crois En L’Eternel Féminin

Miss.Tic

Painting - 122 x 50 x 3 cm

€25,000

James Bond Actress Ursula Andress, Dane Shue

James Bond Actress Ursula Andress

Dane Shue

Painting - 61 x 61 x 1.3 cm

€1,660

Middle white mask, Marc Prat

Middle white mask

Marc Prat

Painting - 100 x 80 x 3 cm

€2,300

Vittoria, Hands on Hips, Luis Morris

Vittoria, Hands on Hips

Luis Morris

Painting - 30 x 23 x 3 cm

€1,058

Need some help ?

What is meant by portrait painting?

A portrait painting is a painted artwork that depicts a person. A portrait painting usually depicts the upper body of a sitter, for example from the shoulders up. 

What art style is a portrait?

A portrait can be created in various different art styles and forms, including sculpture, painting and drawing. 

What makes a good portrait?

A portrait can be considered a good work of art for a variety of reasons, including its handling of light, tone and color, its likeness to the person it represents, or its expression of emotion.