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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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Robert Combas, Les yeux fermier !, Fine Art Drawings

Robert Combas

Les yeux fermier !, 2020
18.1 x 11.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$18,818

François Bard, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

François Bard

Sans titre, 2009
29.1 x 40.9 x 1.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$22,582

Margaux Fontaine, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Margaux Fontaine

Sans titre, 2018
16.5 x 11.8 x 0.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$201

Kirill Postovit, The Fairy Of Spring II, Fine Art Drawings

Kirill Postovit

The Fairy Of Spring II, 2019
27.6 x 19.7 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$320 $640

Guy  Oberson, Portrait myope Rodin 1, Fine Art Drawings

Guy Oberson

Portrait myope Rodin 1, 2019
16.5 x 24.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,262

Our recommendations Amandine Urruty, Outside, Fine Art Drawings

Amandine Urruty

Outside, 2018
24 x 35.8 x 2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$5,018

Liu Bolin, Sketch, Fine Art Drawings

Liu Bolin

Sketch, 2019
10.6 x 14.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,760

Lionel le Jeune, Don Quichotte chargeant, Fine Art Drawings

Lionel le Jeune

Don Quichotte chargeant, 2021
19.7 x 25.6 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$188

Aleksandra Kalisz, Sketch V, Fine Art Drawings

Aleksandra Kalisz

Sketch V, 2020
10.6 x 7.1 x 1.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$376

Air V, Amy Winehouse, Fine Art Drawings

Air V

Amy Winehouse, 2021
11.7 x 8.3 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$878

Elena Naushirvanova, N1, Fine Art Drawings

Elena Naushirvanova

N1, 2021
16.5 x 11.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$339 $376

Zin Taylor, Bzzzz, said Zig Zag, in the presence of Solid Foam, Fine Art Drawings

Zin Taylor

Bzzzz, said Zig Zag, in the presence of Solid Foam, 2014
27.6 x 19.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$5,018

Silvia Cuello, All horizon disappeared, Fine Art Drawings

Silvia Cuello

All horizon disappeared, 2020
16.1 x 12.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$351

Régis Rizzo, Sleeping beauties, Fine Art Drawings

Régis Rizzo

Sleeping beauties, 2009
25.6 x 21.3 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,255

Carmen Magem, Perfil, Fine Art Drawings

Carmen Magem

Perfil, 2018
20.9 x 16.5 inch
Fine Art Drawings

< $ 2,500

Pechelune, Chagalov, Fine Art Drawings

Pechelune

Chagalov, 2020
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$847 $941

Our recommendations Derek Sullivan, Illustrations for (and/or from) a book that is (and/or will be) titled 'On Filling In', Fine Art Drawings

Derek Sullivan

Illustrations for (and/or from) a book that is (and/or will be) titled 'On Filling In', 2016
24.2 x 18.5 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,882

Cyclic, Chapter V - Medusa wants it louder, Fine Art Drawings

Cyclic

Chapter V - Medusa wants it louder, 2021
25.6 x 19.7 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$433

Our recommendations Valérie Hadida, Carré de femmes, Fine Art Drawings

Valérie Hadida

Carré de femmes, 2020
27.6 x 28.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,885

Sandra Chevrier, Untitled 14, Fine Art Drawings

Sandra Chevrier

Untitled 14, 2018
23.6 x 18.9 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$6,524

Jean Cocteau, La Sanfiliste, Fine Art Drawings

Jean Cocteau

La Sanfiliste, 1936
10 x 9.4 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$8,155

Guy Denning, Paycheck, Fine Art Drawings

Guy Denning

Paycheck, 2018
27.6 x 19.7 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,004

Lantomo, Snow 1 - Darkness Series, Fine Art Drawings

Lantomo

Snow 1 - Darkness Series, 2019
27.6 x 19.7 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,133

Hom Nguyen, Visage - Série Racines, Fine Art Drawings

Hom Nguyen

Visage - Série Racines, 2019
31.5 x 23.6 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

10,000 - $ 15,000

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

Alexandre Monteiro (Hopare)

Portrait homme, 2011
19.7 x 16.1 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$5,269

Olivier Massebeuf, Harvest, Fine Art Drawings

Olivier Massebeuf

Harvest, 2011
14.2 x 14.2 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$351

Katsuko Kuroya, Untitled (DEC355458), Fine Art Drawings

Katsuko Kuroya

Untitled (DEC355458), 2017
11.8 x 11.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$201

Sergio Moscona, Les architectes de la parole III, Fine Art Drawings

Sergio Moscona

Les architectes de la parole III, 2011
47.2 x 15.7 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$6,022

Alekos Fassianos, La divine Hellade I, Fine Art Drawings

Alekos Fassianos

La divine Hellade I, 2006
13.4 x 9.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,136

tizlu, Saving Audrey, Fine Art Drawings

tizlu

Saving Audrey, 2021
27.6 x 19.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$624 $878

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
16.1 x 24 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$753

Béatrice Terra, Mon grand père, Fine Art Drawings

Béatrice Terra

Mon grand père, 2020
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$439

Arancha Tejedor, Personnages en mouvement 10, Fine Art Drawings

Arancha Tejedor

Personnages en mouvement 10, 2019
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$201

Stéphane Gisclard, Belle de dos, Fine Art Drawings

Stéphane Gisclard

Belle de dos, 2017
25.6 x 19.7 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,262

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
11.25 x 9 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$125,000

Eugene Berman, Costume, Fine Art Drawings

Eugene Berman

Costume, 1950
6.5 x 4.6 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$753

Mara, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Mara

Sans titre, 2019
22.8 x 30.5 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$439

Markus Lüpertz, Vision de Poussin, Fine Art Drawings

Markus Lüpertz

Vision de Poussin, 2012
27.6 x 37 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$9,597

Mohamed Lekleti, Untitled, Fine Art Drawings

Mohamed Lekleti

Untitled, 2015
11.8 x 11.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,509

Enaer, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Enaer

Sans titre, 2020
27.6 x 19.7 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$650

Allison M. Low, The Frog Prince - Oddlings Series, Fine Art Drawings

Allison M. Low

The Frog Prince - Oddlings Series, 2019
30.3 x 22.4 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,869

Nef, Melancolia, Fine Art Drawings

Nef

Melancolia, 2019
7.1 x 5.1 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$138

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

Jérôme Bouscarat

L'Hydre de Lerne, 2019
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$542

Adam Sabhan, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Adam Sabhan

Portrait, 2003
39.4 x 27.6 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,513

Kyliss, Sans titre 4.4.2, Fine Art Drawings

Kyliss

Sans titre 4.4.2, 2017
51.2 x 38.2 x 1.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$4,391

Lajos Szalay, Caresse tempérée, Fine Art Drawings

Lajos Szalay

Caresse tempérée, 1970
12.2 x 9.6 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$4,893

Henri Fehr, Portrait de femme, Fine Art Drawings

Henri Fehr

Portrait de femme, 1902
10.6 x 7.9 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$433

Erte Tirtoff, Miss Tapsy, Fine Art Drawings

Erte Tirtoff

Miss Tapsy, 1940
18.7 x 14.6 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$4,516

Roland Devolder, La rencontre, Fine Art Drawings

Roland Devolder

La rencontre, 2014
11.4 x 15.7 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,505

Christophe Faso, La dernière séance, Fine Art Drawings

Christophe Faso

La dernière séance, 2014
25.6 x 19.7 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$842

Stéphane Dupuis, Urban pose color 2, Fine Art Drawings

Stéphane Dupuis

Urban pose color 2, 2020
7.9 x 7.9 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$464

Mino Maccari, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Mino Maccari

Portrait, 1955
13.6 x 10.2 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,405 $2,007

Kashink, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Kashink

Sans titre, 2019
22.4 x 13.8 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$753

Laurent de Raucourt, Visage masque, Fine Art Drawings

Laurent de Raucourt

Visage masque, 2019
15.7 x 19.7 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,505

Marie Laurencin, Models, Fine Art Drawings

Marie Laurencin

Models, 1920
10.2 x 8.7 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$23,837

Sergio Barletta, Collage, Fine Art Drawings

Sergio Barletta

Collage, 1982
16.3 x 13.4 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$753

Hubert Yencesse, Portrait of Woman, Fine Art Drawings

Hubert Yencesse

Portrait of Woman, 1951
9.8 x 7.5 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$477

Marcel Gromaire, Untitled, Fine Art Drawings

Marcel Gromaire

Untitled, 1951
15.9 x 19.5 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$8,656

Virginie Remillieux, Faces n°4, Fine Art Drawings

Virginie Remillieux

Faces n°4, 2019
23.6 x 19.7 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$690

Piotr Kamieniarz, Hipnotyzer, Fine Art Drawings

Piotr Kamieniarz

Hipnotyzer, 2020
19.7 x 13.8 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$878

Etienne Quesnay, La Fumeuse, Fine Art Drawings

Etienne Quesnay

La Fumeuse, 2020
12.2 x 9.1 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$502

Vitaliy Lishko, Portrait / Collage, Fine Art Drawings

Vitaliy Lishko

Portrait / Collage, 2020
11.8 x 8.3 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$376

Marika Gysbers, Liberty in progress, Fine Art Drawings

Marika Gysbers

Liberty in progress, 2020
15.7 x 11.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,179

Alkis Matheos, Costume for Marinette, Fine Art Drawings

Alkis Matheos

Costume for Marinette, 1950
10.6 x 8.3 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$251

60 Artworks on 1953

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