Portrait Painting Archive

Among the different types of paintings, Portrait Paintings are comprehensive ways to capture a man’s glory, disposition or social stance in one single moment. It is a style which quickly captures the viewer’s attention and gives a quick glimpse in the past of the depicted person or group. Portrait paintings stand strong among the other types of paintings.

Definition of Portrait

According to Oxford Dictionary, “A painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders.”

Though, the last words of the definition aren’t the mandatory properties of a portrait as the type has grown into much more complex and various ways of depicting a person.

Comprehensive Depiction

Portraits could represent a person, an artist or a group of people. They are just the simple depictions of people. Still, they aren’t just profiles of the persons. Sometimes, portraits could tell us more history about the contemporary times than a city’s landscape from the same era.

For instance, during the Dutch Golden age, people were afraid of expressing their pride through an extravagant portrait as it was considered bad during the time. Thus, the total of more than 1 million portraits from that time were mostly dull, expressionless and similar. You won’t get this information in the brilliant vista of a cityscape.

Even the most famous painting in the world is also a portrait. Other famous paintings like Girl with a Pearl Earring and American Gothic are also different types of portrait as you would know about them in detail at here.

Artists would generally have very limited space to include any significant object in the portrait as compared to a Landscape Painting or a Still Life Painting where he can add all the objects he could imagine. Thus, the included objects, scenes, background or other elements would be chosen very carefully to represent the accurate impression of the person or persons portrayed. Artist would care of the littlest details to represent the disposition or the concurrent impression of the person and would eliminate any redundant objects or implications. It is somewhat similar to still-life in which every included element generally holds some meaningful symbolism.

Thus, portraits could embody the person’s disposition, general impression, importance, significance, background, stance in society, history, a specific phase or the whole society’s outlook through a single representative person.

Types of Portraits

According to the subject, context or need of the artist, portrait paintings have developed many types to distinguish or signify different characteristics. Each type has been developed over the different centuries or ages and have matured in today’s portraits. This, findings and techniques of portrait paintings have significantly helped the portrait photography in modern times. You can find a mode called “portrait” in your phone’s camera. The term is derived from here, obviously.

If you haven’t read our post on the Different Types of Portraits, you can read about it on the given link.

Mona Lisa has been described as the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world. The prominent reasons for its fame varies from its well-known renaissance creator Leonardo da Vinci, his then-new technique called Sfumato developed by the same artist and the most prominent reason of all being the mystery of depicted woman’s smile. Who Painted Mona Lisa Renowned as a genius in the world, who made many unbelievable inventions, Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa using his self-invented Sfumato technique, one of the four canonical painting modes of the renaissance. His other known creations are The Last Supper (a Fresco), Vitruvian Man (a drawing) and Virgin of the Rocks. Know more about him here. Mona […]


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Patricia’s series of Venuses has become a note-worthy art-pieces for its radical depictions. Sleeping Venus is a similar work by her. Apocalypse Venus is said to be inspired from the classic work Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. If you are familiar with the classic work (and if not, then click the link to see it), you would find the similarities between Venuses in both paintings. Both are posed as the central figure and central theme of the painting. Though, Patricia in her painting, indicating by the title, has took a radical new approach at depicting the goddess, almost taking the subject to the opposite side of the arc. While Botticelli’s work is showing, as title suggests, the birth of the goddess Venus with all the pleasant environment and auspicious […]


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The subject of ‘Sleeping Venus’ in painting has been around since the Renaissance period. In this art-piece, the American artist, Patricia Watwood has composed the classic subject with refreshing modern aspects and a subtle but strong symbolism. It is another attempt of depicting the popular painting subject in contemporary times as artist in all centuries have tried to do the same according to their own time period, social changes, progression and beliefs. Watwood’s inclusion of technology into the subject could be acclaimed at one of the first. Symbolism of True Love Venus is the goddess of love. The peacock feather earring she is wearing symbolizes the ‘eyes of heaven’, relating to the heavenly connection of the subject matter. The highly sensual depiction of the goddess […]


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The young girl looks like she has been brought to sit on the chair while she was playing in a dusty playground. The innocence, the carelessness and the playfulness of a child is finely depicted in the current portrait of a young tomboyish girl. Alexei Harlamoff  has prominently focused on the girl’s face as we see the natural innocence in the girl’s chubby face and the big eyes. She is looking in vain which makes us more to think about the thoughts she is thinking about. What runs into a child’s mind? Moreover, the deliberate color strokes to create dirty look puts us into the playground of any child. By looking at her we can imagine that she is straightly coming from a playground where her hairs got […]


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