Whether full-face, profile, three-quarter view or full-length, portrait paintings have always been one of the most popular forms of painting. If you are a fan of portrait paintings, KAZoART invites you to browse its eclectic selection of portraits!
Often, the subject of a portrait is better remembered than the artist that painted it (with the exception of self-portraits). This is essentially due to the fact that each portrait painting, more than in any other genre, has a special relationship with its audience. It draws them in, provoking varying levels of emotion, remaining imprinted on their memory and thus fulfilling its main objective of perpetuating the memory of a person.
As portrait paintings are the most popular genre of all time, every artist worthy of the name will go through this stage, transposing it in their universe using the pictorial trends of their time. When commissioned, the painter receives very specific directions leading to the production of numerous preparatory sketches. Nonetheless, painters can, depending on the subject, style and temperament, use pictorial innovations that will make their portraits timeless artworks.
This has led to a huge variety of styles in the production of the most famous portrait paintings, from the colourful strokes found in the self-portraits of Vincent Van Gogh, to Albrecht Dürer's Self-portrait, the enigmatic smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and academic portraits such as Rembrandt's Syndics of the Drapers' Guild.
Dating back to Antiquity, the purpose of portrait painting has continually evolved throughout the ages. From Antiquity to the Renaissance, portrait paintings were essentially commissioned by wealthy patrons who, seeking to leave a trace of their time on this Earth, wanted to pass on a laudatory, idealized depiction of their person (virtuous, pious, beautiful, etc.).
A true tool of propaganda, the portrait has also been used by powerful figures in the world to convey to their subjects and rivals a representation of their power through original staging in which symbols take centre-stage (eg. Portrait of Louis XIV, Hyacinthe Rigaud; Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Diégo Velazquez). Today photography often occupies the same role, producing a more modest, family-centric portrait.