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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, Sans, Fine Art Drawings

Robert Combas

Sans, 1990
13 x 18.9 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,359

Valérie Hadida, Femme sur galet, Fine Art Drawings

Valérie Hadida

Femme sur galet, 2021
31.5 x 29.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,364

Camille Hilaire, Le York de Jean-Paul, Fine Art Drawings

Camille Hilaire

Le York de Jean-Paul, 1980
3.9 x 5.5 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$373

Mino Maccari, A Gangster, Fine Art Drawings

Mino Maccari

A Gangster, 1970
6 x 5.4 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$672

Haude Bernabé, Le gouverneur du temps, Fine Art Drawings

Haude Bernabé

Le gouverneur du temps, 2020
15.7 x 12.6 x 2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,488

Sergio Barletta, Portrait of Guelfo Bianchini, Fine Art Drawings

Sergio Barletta

Portrait of Guelfo Bianchini, 1959
11.4 x 12.6 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$809

Jéko, C'est un secret, Fine Art Drawings

Jéko

C'est un secret, 2020
15.7 x 12.8 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$697

Lantomo, Alice and the Patch, Fine Art Drawings

Lantomo

Alice and the Patch, 2021
16.1 x 13 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,368

Marguerite Wibaux, Nostalgia, Fine Art Drawings

Marguerite Wibaux

Nostalgia, 2021
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$435

Henri Fehr, Au café, Fine Art Drawings

Henri Fehr

Au café, 1956
24.6 x 17.7 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$796

Yanne Kintgen, Poésie 1, Fine Art Drawings

Yanne Kintgen

Poésie 1, 2021
10.6 x 8.3 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,288

Amor de Agua, Femmes, Fine Art Drawings

Amor de Agua

Femmes, 2021
12.6 x 9.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$187

Eveline Weil, La danseuse, Fine Art Drawings

Eveline Weil

La danseuse, 2018
30.3 x 23.6 x 0.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,426

Léon Laurent Galand, Berty Seuron 1ère danseuse, Fine Art Drawings

Léon Laurent Galand

Berty Seuron 1ère danseuse, 1935
22.4 x 16.9 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$682

Our recommendations Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Regards, Rimbaud, Etude n° 18, Fine Art Drawings

Ernest Pignon-Ernest

Regards, Rimbaud, Etude n° 18, 1986
12.6 x 9.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$14,928

Sandra Chevrier, Untitled 14, Fine Art Drawings

Sandra Chevrier

Untitled 14, 2018
23.6 x 18.9 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$6,469

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

$3,110

Sergio Moscona, Arbol genial - Logico, Fine Art Drawings

Sergio Moscona

Arbol genial - Logico, 2016
22 x 15 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,732

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

Rudyard Heaton

Sans titre 14 (DED359712), 2018
11.8 x 15.7 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$299

Valerio Adami, Damas, Fine Art Drawings

Valerio Adami

Damas, 1998
37.4 x 29.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$17,416

Raphaël Federici (ParisSketchCulture), Dessin, Fine Art Drawings

Raphaël Federici (ParisSketchCulture)

Dessin, 2019
14.6 x 10.6 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$473

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

$5,722

Katsuko Kuroya, Untitled (DEC355458), Fine Art Drawings

Katsuko Kuroya

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

$199

Olivier Massebeuf, Harvest, Fine Art Drawings

Olivier Massebeuf

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

$348

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

$746

François Bard, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

François Bard

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

$22,392

tizlu, Saving Audrey, Fine Art Drawings

tizlu

Saving Audrey, 2021
27.6 x 19.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,120 $1,493

Arancha Tejedor, Personnages en mouvement 2, Fine Art Drawings

Arancha Tejedor

Personnages en mouvement 2, 2019
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$199

Lajos Szalay, Caresse tempérée, Fine Art Drawings

Lajos Szalay

Caresse tempérée, 1970
12.2 x 9.6 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$4,852

Anastasia Kurakina, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Anastasia Kurakina

Portrait, 2018
9.4 x 10.6 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$435

Kashink, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Kashink

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

$746

Markus Lüpertz, Vision de Poussin, Fine Art Drawings

Markus Lüpertz

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

$9,517

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

Mara, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Mara

Sans titre, 2019
41.3 x 29.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$622

Nef, Melancolia, Fine Art Drawings

Nef

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

$137

Erte Tirtoff, Miss Tapsy, Fine Art Drawings

Erte Tirtoff

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

$4,478

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

$537

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

$4,354

Kosta Kulundzic, Tropics beauty 3, Fine Art Drawings

Kosta Kulundzic

Tropics beauty 3, 2020
59.1 x 43.3 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$4,976

Adam Sabhan, Portrait, Fine Art Drawings

Adam Sabhan

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

$3,483

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

$616 $684

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

$835

Marie Laurencin, Models, Fine Art Drawings

Marie Laurencin

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

$23,636

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

$1,493

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

$473

Eugene Berman, Costume, Fine Art Drawings

Eugene Berman

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

$746

Etienne Quesnay, La Fumeuse, Fine Art Drawings

Etienne Quesnay

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

$498

Marika Gysbers, Liberty in progress, Fine Art Drawings

Marika Gysbers

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

$1,169

Marcel Gromaire, Untitled, Fine Art Drawings

Marcel Gromaire

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

$8,584

Gérard Traquandi, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Gérard Traquandi

Sans titre, 2016
9.1 x 5.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$498

Mohamed Lekleti, Untitled, Fine Art Drawings

Mohamed Lekleti

Untitled, 2015
11.8 x 11.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,488

Roland Devolder, La rencontre, Fine Art Drawings

Roland Devolder

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

$1,493

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

Carmen Selma

L'entrée pour les garçons, 2018
11.6 x 15.7 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$593

Ofobuike Okudoh, Festival of Fire, Fine Art Drawings

Ofobuike Okudoh

Festival of Fire, 2019
27.6 x 19.5 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,732

Guy  Oberson, Œdipe I, Fine Art Drawings

Guy Oberson

Œdipe I, 2019
18.7 x 14.2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,244

Carne Griffiths, Reconnecting, Fine Art Drawings

Carne Griffiths

Reconnecting, 2015
32.7 x 25.2 x 2.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$4,727

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

Laurina Paperina

Man in a Bowler Hat vs Pigeon, 2017
9.8 x 7.9 x 0.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,244

Liu Bolin, Sketch, Fine Art Drawings

Liu Bolin

Sketch, 2019
10.6 x 14.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,737

Madeleine Sellier, Portrait of Woman, Fine Art Drawings

Madeleine Sellier

Portrait of Woman, 1950
9.6 x 6.7 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$498

Jacques Hirtz, Soldier, Fine Art Drawings

Jacques Hirtz

Soldier, 1950
16.1 x 11.4 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$373

Stéphane Dupuis, Bubble, Fine Art Drawings

Stéphane Dupuis

Bubble, 2019
8.3 x 5.9 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$473

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

$249

Theodore van Elsen, Man with Glasses, Fine Art Drawings

Theodore van Elsen

Man with Glasses, 1940
10.1 x 6.8 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$348

Irene Pereyra, Mother and Child, Fine Art Drawings

Irene Pereyra

Mother and Child, 1950
12 x 9.1 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$373

60 Artworks on 2067

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