self-portrait is a representation of an artist that is drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by that artist. Although self-portraits have been made since the earliest times, it is not until the Early Renaissance in the mid-15th century that artists can be frequently identified depicting themselves as either the main subject, or as important characters in their work. With better and cheaper mirrors, and the advent of the panel portrait, many painters, sculptors and printmakers tried some form of self-portraiturePortrait of a Man in a Turban by Jan van Eyck of 1433 may well be the earliest known panel self-portrait.[1] He painted a separate portrait of his wife, and he belonged to the social group that had begun to commission portraits, already more common among wealthy Netherlanders than south of the Alps. The genre is venerable, but not until the Renaissance, with increased wealth and interest in the individual as a subject, did it become truly popular.[2]

Raphael, c. 1517–1518, Uffizi Gallery

Types of Self Portrait

 Pieter ClaeszVanitas with Violin and Glass Ball, the artist is visible in the reflection, 1625.

A self-portrait may be a portrait of the artist, or a portrait included in a larger work, including a group portrait. Many painters are said to have included depictions of specific individuals, including themselves, in painting figures in religious or other types of composition. Such paintings were not intended publicly to depict the actual persons as themselves, but the facts would have been known at the time to artist and patron, creating a talking point as well as a public test of the artist’s skill.[3]

In the earliest surviving examples of medieval and renaissance self-portraiture, historical or mythical scenes (from the Bible or classical literature) were depicted using a number of actual persons as models, often including the artist, giving the work a multiple function as portraiture, self-portraiture and history/myth painting. In these works, the artist usually appears as a face in the crowd or group, often towards the edges or corner of the work and behind the main participants. Rubens‘s The Four Philosophers (1611–12)[4] is a good example. This culminated in the 17th century with the work of Jan de Bray. Many artistic media have been used; apart from paintings, drawings and prints have been especially important.

In the famous Arnolfini Portrait (1434), Jan van Eyck is probably one of two figures glimpsed in a mirror – a surprisingly modern conceit. The Van Eyck painting may have inspired Diego Velázquez to depict himself in full view as the painter creating Las Meninas (1656), as the Van Eyck hung in the palace in Madrid where he worked. This was another modern flourish, given that he appears as the painter (previously unseen in official royal portraiture) and standing close to the King’s family group who were the supposed main subjects of the painting.[5]

In what may be one of the earliest childhood self-portraits now surviving, Albrecht Dürer depicts himself as in naturalistic style as a 13-year-old boy in 1484. In later years he appears variously as a merchant in the background of Biblical scenes and as Christ.[6]

Leonardo da Vinci may have drawn a picture of himself at the age of 60, in around 1512. The picture is often straightforwardly reproduced as Da Vinci’s appearance, although this is not certain.

In the 17th century, Rembrandt painted a range of self-portraits. In The Prodigal Son in the Tavern (c1637), one of the earliest self-portraits with family, the painting probably includes Saskia, Rembrandt’s wife, one of the earliest depictions of a family member by a famous artist. Family and professional group paintings, including the artist’s depiction, became increasingly common from the 17th century on. From the later 20th century on, video plays an increasing part in self-portraiture, and adds the dimension of audio as well, allowing the person to speak to us in their own voice.

Gallery: Inserted self-portraits

Women painters

Women artists are notable producers of self-portraits; almost all significant women painters have left an example, from Caterina van Hemessen to the prolific Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, and Frida Kahlo, as well as Alice NeelPaula Modersohn-Becker and Jenny Savillewho painted themselves in the nude. Vigée-Lebrun painted a total of 37 self-portraits, many of which were copies of earlier ones, painted for sale. Until the 20th century women were usually unable to train in drawing the nude, which made it difficult for them to paint large figure compositions, leading many artists to specialize in portrait work. Women artists have historically embodied a number of roles within their self-portraiture. Most common is the artist at work, showing themselves in the act of painting, or at least holding a brush and palette. Often, the viewer wonders if the clothes worn were those they normally painted in, as the elaborate nature of many ensembles was an artistic choice to show her skill at fine detail.

 Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, Nickolas Muray Collection, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin[9]


Images of artists at work are encountered in Ancient Egyptian painting, and sculpture[12] and also on Ancient Greek vases. One of the first self-portraits was made by the Pharaoh Akhenaten‘s chief sculptor Bak in 1365 BC. Plutarch mentions that the Ancient Greek sculptor Phidias had included a likeness of himself in a number of characters in the “Battle of the Amazons” on the Parthenon, and there are classical references to painted self-portraits, none of which have survived.

Self portraits in Asia

Portraits and self-portraits have a longer continuous history in Asian art than in Europe. Many in the scholar gentleman tradition are quite small, depicting the artist in a large landscape, illustrating a poem in calligraphy on his experience of the scene. Another tradition, associated with Zen Buddhism, produced lively semi-caricatured self-portraits, whilst others remain closer to the conventions of the formal portrait.

Self Portraits in European art

 Joseph Wright of Derby Self-portrait (1765-1768)

Illuminated manuscripts contain a number of apparent self-portraits, notably those of Saint Dunstan and Matthew Paris. Most of these either show the artist at work, or presenting the finished book to either a donor or a sacred figure, or venerating such a figure.[13] Orcagna is believed to have painted himself as a figure in a fresco of 1359,[citation needed] which became, at least according to art historians — Vasari records a number of such traditions — a common practice of artists.[citation needed] However, for earlier artists, with no other portrait to compare to, these descriptions are necessarily rather speculative. Among the earliest self-portraits are also two frescos by Johannes Aquila, one in Velemér (1378), western Hungary, and one in Martjanci (1392), northeastern Slovenia.[14] In Italy Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337) included himself in the cycle of “eminent men” in the Castle of Naples, Masaccio(1401–1428) depicted himself as one of the apostles in the painting of the Brancacci Chapel, and Benozzo Gozzoli includes himself, with other portraits, in the Palazzo Medici Procession of the Magi (1459), with his name written on his hat. This is imitated a few years later by Sandro Botticelli, as a spectator of the Adoration of the Magi (1475), who turns from the scene to look at us. Fourteenth-century sculpted portrait busts of and by the Parler family in Prague Cathedral include self-portraits, and are among the earliest such busts of non-royal figures. Ghiberti included a small head of himself in his most famous work. Notably, the earliest self-portrait painted in England, other than in a manuscript, is the miniature painted in oils on panel by the German artist Gerlach Flicke, 1554.

Albrecht Dürer, 1471–1528, the first prolific self-portraitist

Albrecht Dürer was an artist highly conscious of his public image and reputation, whose main income came from his old master prints, all containing his famous monogram, which were sold throughout Europe. He probably depicted himself more often than any artist before him, producing at least twelve images, including three oil portraits, and figures in four altarpieces. The earliest is a silverpoint drawing created when he was thirteen years old. At twenty-two Dürer painted the Self-portrait with Carnation (1493, Louvre), probably to send to his new fiancée. The Madrid self-portrait (1498, Prado) depicts Dürer as a dandy in fashionable Italian dress, reflecting the international success he had achieved by then. In his last self-portrait, sold or given to the city of Nuremberg, and displayed publicly, which very few portraits then were, the artist depicted himself with an unmistakable resemblance to Jesus Christ (Munich, Alte Pinakothek). He later re-used the face in a religious engraving of, revealingly, the Veil of Veronica, Christ’s own “self-portrait” (B.25). A self-portrait in gouache he sent to Raphael has not survived. A woodcut of a bathhouse and a drawing show virtually nude self-portraits.[15]

Renaissance and Baroque

The great Italian painters of the Renaissance made comparatively few formal painted self-portraits, but often included themselves in larger works. Most individual self-portraits they have left were straightforward depictions; Dürer’s showmanship was rarely followed, although a controversially attributed Self-portrait as David by Giorgione would have something of the same spirit, if it is a self-portrait. There is a portrait by Pietro Perugino of about 1500 (Collegio del Cambio of Perugia), and one by the young Parmigianino showing the view in a convex mirror. There is also a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci (1512),[16] and self-portraits in larger works by Michelangelo, who gave his face to the skin of St. Bartholomew in the Last Judgement of the Sistine Chapel (1536–1541), and Raphael who is seen in the characters of School of Athens 1510, or with a friend who holds his shoulder (1518). Also notable are two portraits of Titian as an old man in the 1560s. Paolo Veronese appears as a violinist clothed in white in his Marriage at Cana, accompanied by Titian on the bass viol (1562). Northern artists continued to make more individual portraits, often looking very much like their other bourgeois sitters. Johan Gregor van der Schardt produced a painted terracotta bust of himself (c.1573).[17]

Titian‘s Allegory of Prudence (c. 1565–70) is thought to depict Titian, his son Orazio, and a young cousin, Marco Vecellio.[18] Titian also painted a late self-portrait in 1567; apparently his first. Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi‘s La Pittura (Self-portrait as the allegory of painting) presents herself embodying the classical allegorical representation of Painting, seen in the dramatic mask worn around Gentileschi’s neck which Painting often carries. The artist’s focus on her work, away from the viewer, highlights the drama of the Baroque period, and the changing role of the artist from craftsperson to singular innovator.[19] Caravaggio painted himself in Bacchus at the beginning of his career, then appears in the staffage of some of his larger paintings. Finally, the head of Goliath held by David(1605–10, Galleria Borghese) is Caravaggio’s own.

Rembrandt and the 17th century in Northern Europe

In the 17th century, Flemish and Dutch artists painted themselves far more often; by this date most successful artists had a position in society where a member of any trade would consider having their portrait painted. Many also include their families, again following the normal practice for the middle-classes. Mary BealeAnthony van Dyck and Peter Paul Rubens gave us numerous images of themselves, the latter also often painting his family. This practice was especially common for women artists, whose inclusion of their families was often a deliberate attempt to mitigate criticism of their profession causing distraction from their “natural role” as mothers.[19]

Rembrandt was the most frequent self-portraitist, at least until the self-obsessed modern period, also often painting his wife, son and mistress. At one time about ninety paintings were counted as Rembrandt self-portraits, but it is now known that he had his students copy his own self-portraits as part of their training. Modern scholarship has reduced the autograph count to something over forty paintings, as well as a few drawings and thirty-one etchings, which include many of the most remarkable images of the group. Many show him posing in quasi-historical fancy dress, or pulling faces at himself. His oil paintings trace the progress from an uncertain young man to the dapper and very successful portrait-painter of the 1630s to the troubled but massively powerful portraits of his old age.[20]

After Rembrandt

Self-Portrait of Van Gogh with head bandaged, after he (debatedly) cut off part of his ear.

In Spain, there were self-portraits of Bartolomé Estéban Murillo and Diego VelázquezFrancisco de Zurbarán represented himself in Luke the Evangelist at the feet of Christ on the cross (around 1635). In the 19th century, Goya painted himself numerous times. French self-portraits, at least after Nicolas Poussin tend to show the social status of the artist, although Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and some other instead showed their real working costume very realistically. This was a decision all 18th-century self-portraitists needed to make, although many painted themselves in both formal and informal costume in different paintings. Thereafter, one can say that most significant painters left us at least one self-portrait, even after the decline of the painted portrait with the arrival of photography. Gustave Courbet (see below) was perhaps the most creative self-portraitist of the 19th century, and The Artist’s studio and Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet are perhaps the largest self-portraits ever painted. Both contain many figures, but are firmly centred on the heroic figure of the artist.

Prolific modern self-portraitists

 Vincent van GoghSelf Portrait, dedicated to Gauguin, 1888

One of the most famous and most prolific of self-portraitists was Vincent van Gogh, who drew and painted himself more than 43 times between 1886 and 1889.[21][22] In all of these self-portraits one is struck that the gaze of the painter is seldom directed at us; even when it is a fixed gaze, he seems to look elsewhere. These paintings vary in intensity and color and some portray the artist with bandages; representing the episode in which he severed one of his ears.[23]

The many self-portraits of Egon Schiele set new standards of openness, or perhaps exhibitionism, representing him naked in many positions, sometimes masturbating or with an erection, as in Eros (1911). Stanley Spencer was to follow somewhat in this vein. Max Beckmann was a prolific painter of self-portraits [24] as was Edvard Munch who made great numbers of self-portrait paintings (70), prints (20) and drawings or watercolours (over 100) throughout his life, many showing him being badly treated by life, and especially by women.[25] Obsessively using the self-portrait as a personal and introspective artistic expression was Horst Janssen, who produced hundreds of self-portraits depicting him a wide range of contexts most notably in relation to sickness, moodyness and death.[26] The 2004 exhibition “Schiele, Janssen. Selbstinszenierung, Eros, Tod” (Schiele, Janssen: Self-dramatisation, Eros, Death) at the Leopold Museum in Vienna paralleled the works of Egon Schiele and Horst Janssen, both heavily drawing on sujets of erotica and death in combination with relentless self-portraiture.[27] Frida Kahlo, who following a terrible accident spent many years bedridden, with only herself for a model, was another painter whose self-portraits depict great pain, in her case physical as well as mental. Her 55-odd self-portraits include many of herself from the waist up, and also some nightmarish representations which symbolize her physical sufferings.[28][29]

Throughout his long career, Pablo Picasso often used self-portraits to depict himself in the many different guises, disguises and incarnations of his autobiographical artistic persona. From the young unknown “Yo Picasso” period to the “Minotaur in the Labyrinth” period, to the “old Cavalier” and the “lecherous old artist and model” periods. Often Picasso’s self-portraits depicted and revealed complicated psychological insights, both personal and profound about the inner state and well being of the artist. Another artist who painted interestingly personal and revealing self-portraits throughout his career was Pierre Bonnard. Bonnard also painted dozens of portraits of his wife Marthe throughout her life as well. Vincent van GoghPaul GauguinEgon Schiele and Horst Janssen in particular made intense (at times disturbingly so) and self-revealing self-portraits throughout their careers.

Self-portraits in general

Gallery: painters at work

 Gustave CourbetThe Painter’s Studio: A Real Allegory of a Seven Year Phase in my Artistic (and Moral) Life, 1855, Louvre

 RembrandtThe Artist in his Studio, 1628, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Many of the medieval portraits show the artist at work, and Jan van Eyck (above) his chaperon hat has the parts normally hanging loose tied up on his head, giving the misleading impression he is wearing a turban, presumably for convenience whilst he paints.[30] In the early modern period, increasingly, men as well as women who painted themselves at work had to choose whether to present themselves in their best clothes, and best room, or to depict studio practice realistically. See also the Gallery of Women painters above.


Art critic Galina Vasilyeva-Shlyapina separates two basic forms of the self-portrait: “professional” portraits, in which the artist is depicted at work, and “personal” portraits, which reveal moral and psychological features. She also proposes a more detailed taxonomy: (1) the “insertable” self-portrait, where the artist inserts his or her own portrait into, for example, a group of characters related to some subject; (2) the “prestigious, or symbolic” self-portrait, where an artist depicts him- or herself in the guise of a historical person or religious hero; (3) the “group portrait” where artist is depicted with members of family or other real persons; (4) the “separate or natural” self-portrait, where the artist is depicted alone. However it might be thought these classes are rather rigid; many portraits manage to combine several of them.[31]

With new media came a chance to create different kinds of self-portraits besides simply static painting or photographs. Many people, especially teens, use social networking sites to form their own personal identity on the internet.[32] Still others use blogs or create personal web pages to create a space for self-expression and self-portraiture.

Mirrors and poses

 Las Meninas, painted in 1656, shows Diego Velázquez working at the easel to the left.

The self-portrait supposes in theory the use of a mirror; glass mirrors became available in Europe in the 15th century. The first mirrors used were convex, introducing deformations that the artist sometimes preserved. A painting by Parmigianino in 1524 Self-portrait in a mirror, demonstrates the phenomenon. Mirrors permit surprising compositions like the Triple self-portrait by Johannes Gumpp (1646), or more recently that of Salvador Dalí shown from the back painting his wife, Gala (1972–73). This use of the mirror often results in right-handed painters representing themselves as left-handed (and vice versa). Usually the face painted is therefore a mirror image of that the rest of the world saw, unless two mirrors were used. Most of Rembrandt’s self-portraits before 1660 show only one hand – the painting hand is left unpainted.[33] He appears to have bought a larger mirror in about 1652, after which his self-portraits become larger. In 1658 a large mirror in a wood frame broke whilst being transported to his house; nonetheless, in this year he completed his Frick self-portrait, his largest.

The size of single-sheet mirrors was restricted until technical advances made in France in 1688 by Bernard Perrot. They also remained very fragile, and large ones were much more expensive pro-rata than small ones – the breakages were recut into small pieces. About 80 cm, or two and a half feet, seems to have been the maximum size until then – roughly the size of the palace mirror in Las Meninas (the convex mirror in the Arnolfini Portrait is considered by historians impractically large, one of Van Eyck’s many cunning distortions of scale).[35] Largely for this reason, most early self-portraits show painters at no more than half-length.

Self-portraits of the artist at work were, as mentioned above, the commonest form of medieval self-portrait, and these have continued to be popular, with a specially large number from the 18th century on. One particular type in the medieval and Renaissance periods was the artist shown as Saint Luke (patron saint of artists) painting the Virgin Mary. Many of these were presented to the local Guild of Saint Luke, to be placed in their chapel. A famous large view of the artist in his studio is The Artist’s Studio by Gustave Courbet(1855), an immense “Allegory” of objects and characters amid which the painter sits.

Gallery: mortality in the self-portrait

Other meanings, storytelling

Self-portrait as David with the head of Goliath, Johan Zoffany

The self-portraits of many Contemporary artists and Modernists often are characterized by a strong sense of narrative, often but not strictly limited to vignettes from the artists life-story. Sometimes the narrative resembles fantasy, roleplaying and fiction. Besides Diego Velázquez, (in his painting Las Meninas), Rembrandt Van RijnJan de Bray, Gustave Courbet, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin other artists whose self-portraits reveal complex narratives include Pierre BonnardMarc ChagallLucian FreudArshile GorkyAlice NeelPablo PicassoLucas SamarasJenny SavilleCindy ShermanAndy Warhol and Gilbert and George.


The self-portrait can be a very effective form of advertising for an artist, especially of course for a portrait painter. Dürer was not really interested in portraits commercially, but made good use of his extraordinary self-portraits to advertise himself as an artist, something he was very sophisticated in doing. Sofonisba Anguissola painted intricate miniatures which served as advertisements for her skill as well as novelty items, considered such because the rarity of successful women painters provided them with an oddity quality.[39]Rembrandt made his living principally from portrait-painting during his most successful period, and like Van Dyck and Joshua Reynolds, many of his portraits were certainly intended to advertise his skills. With the advent of regular Academy shows, many artists tried to produce memorable self-portraits to make an impression on the artistic stage. A recent exhibition at the National Gallery, London, Rebels and Martyrs, did not shrink from the comic bathos that sometimes resulted.[40] An example from the 21st century is Arnaud Prinstet, an otherwise little-known contemporary artist who has generated good amounts of publicity by undertaking to paint his self-portrait every day.[41] On the other hand, some artists depicted themselves very much as they did other clients.

Diagnosing the self-portrait

Self-portrait of Egon Schiele 1911, depicting masturbation.

Some artists who suffered neurological or physical diseases have left self-portraits of themselves that have allowed later physicians to attempt to analyze disruptions of mental processes; and many of these analyses have entered into the textbooks of neurology.[2]

The self-portraits of artists who suffered mental illnesses give a unique possibility to physicians for investigating self-perception in people with psychological, psychiatric or neurologic disturbances.

Russian sexologist Igor Kon in his article about masturbation notes that a habit of masturbating may be depicted in works of art, particularly paintings. So Austrian artist Egon Schiele depicted himself so occupied in one of his self-portraits. Kon observes that this painting does not portray pleasure from the masturbation, but a feeling of solitude. Creations of Schiele are analyzed by other researchers in terms of sexuality, and particularly pedophilia.


One of the most distinguished, and oldest, collections of self-portraits is in the Vasari Corridor of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It was originally the collection by the Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici in the second part of the 17th century and has been maintained and expanded until the present time. It is mostly not on view for general visitors, although some paintings are shown in the main galleries. Many famous artists have not been able to resist an invitation to donate a self-portrait to the collection. It comprises more than 200 portraits, in particular those of Pietro da CortonaCharles Le BrunJean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and Marc Chagall. Other important collections are housed at the National Portrait Gallery (United Kingdom) in London (with various satellite outstations elsewhere), and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C..



Two methods of obtaining photographic self-portraits are widespread. One is photographing a reflection in the mirror, and the other photographing one’s self with the camera in an outstretched hand. Eleazar Langman photographed his reflection on the surface of a nickel-plated teapot.

Another method involves setting the camera or capture device upon a tripod, or surface. One might then set the camera’s timer, or use a remote controlled shutter release.

Finally, setting up the camera, entering the scene and having an assistant release the shutter (i.e., if the presence of a cable release is unwanted in the photo) can arguably be regarded as a photographic self-portrait, as well. The speed of creating photographic self-portraits allowed for a range of images with more of a “play” atmosphere than traditional methods. One such example is Frances Benjamin Johnston‘s Self-Portrait, c. 1896, an image which demonstrates the photo-portrait’s ability to play with gender roles.[19]

Drawings, prints and engravings

See also

Notes and references

  1. Jump up^ Campbell, Lorne (1998). The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings. National Gallery Catalogues (new series). pp. 212–17. ISBN 1-85709-171-X.
  2. Jump up to:a b accessed online July 28, 2007 an online history of self-portraits, various excerpts from Edward Lucie-Smith and Sean Kelly, The Self Portrait: A Modern View (London: Sarema Press, 1987)
  3. Jump up^ Campbell, Lorne, Renaissance Portraits, European Portrait-Painting in the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries, pp. 3-4, 1990, Yale, ISBN 0-300-04675-8
  4. Jump up^ “Web Gallery of Art: Rubens, Pieter Pauwel – The Four Philosophers, 1611–12”. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
  5. Jump up^ Campbell, Lorne; National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings, pp 180, 1998, ISBN 1-85709-171-XOL 392219MOCLC 40732051LCCN 98-66510, (also titled The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Schools). The Arnolfini Portrait hung in the same palace in Madrid in which Las Meninas was painted
  6. Jump up^ “Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy: The graphic work of a Renaissance artist”. Studio International Magazine. March 2003. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
  7. Jump up^ Full composition (part of larger scheme)
  8. Jump up^ Full composition (part of larger scheme)
  9. Jump up^ Image—full description and credit: Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940, oil on canvas on Masonite, 24½ × 19 inches, Nikolas Muray Collection, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, 2007. Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Av. Cinco de Mayo No. 2, Col. CentroDel. Cuauhtémoc 06059, México, D.F.
  10. Jump up^ This is a later and larger repetition in the National Gallery of the original
  11. Jump up^ Marie-Denise Villers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  12. Jump up^ Pharaoh’s sculptor, Bak accessed online August 20, 2011
  13. Jump up^ Jonathon Alexander; Medieval Illuminators and their Methods of Work; p.8-34, Yale UP, 1992, ISBN 0-300-05689-3 collects several examples
  14. Jump up^ Hourihane, Colum (2012). “Johannes Aquila de Rakerspurga”. The Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art and Architecture. Oxford University Press. p. 527. ISBN 978-0-19-539536-5.
  15. Jump up^ For all this section, Giulia Bartrum, Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy, p. 77–84 & passim, British Museum Press, 2002, ISBN 0-7141-2633-0
  16. Jump up^ This drawing in red chalk is widely (though not universally) accepted as an original self-portrait. The main reason for hesitation in accepting it as a portrait of Leonardo is that the subject is apparently of a greater age than Leonardo ever achieved. But it is possible that he drew this picture of himself deliberately aged, specifically for Raphael’s portrait of him in the School of Athens. A case has also been made, originally by novelist Dmitry Merezhkovsky, that Leonardo based his famous picture Mona Lisa on his own self-portrait.
  17. Jump up^ Scholten, Frits (2007/8). “Johan Gregor van der Schardt and the Moment of Self-Portraiture in Sculpture”. Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art33 (4): 195–220. JSTOR 25608493. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. Jump up^ Erwin Panofsky (and originally Fritz Saxl), Titian’s “Allegory of Prudence”, A Postscript, in Meaning in the Visual Arts, Doubleday/Penguin, 1955
  19. Jump up to:a b c Frances Borzello, Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraiture, 1998.
  20. Jump up^ For this section and the gallery, Ernst van de Wetering in Rembrandt by himself, p.10 and passim, 1999, National Gallery, London/Mauritshuis, The Hague, ISBN 1-85709-270-8
  21. Jump up^ Musee D’Orsay
  22. Jump up^ Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art, art of self-portraitRetrieved June 13, 2010
  23. Jump up^ Andrea Bassil, Lives of the Artists, Vincent van Gogh pp.36-37 Retrieved June 13, 2010
  24. Jump up^ Max Beckmann, The Self Portraits Retrieved October 16, 2011
  25. Jump up^ Munch Museum
  26. Jump up^ [1]
  27. Jump up^ [2]
  28. Jump up^ Amazing women Frida Kahlo, I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint. Retrieved September 28, 2010
  29. Jump up^ National Museum of Women Artists Retrieved September 28, 2010
  30. Jump up^ Campbell, Lorne; National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings, pp 214, 1998, ISBN 1-85709-171-XOL 392219MOCLC 40732051LCCN 98-66510, (also titled The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Schools)
  31. Jump up^ Respectively, the “вставной”,“представительский, или символический”“групповой портрет”“отдельный или естественный”
  32. Jump up^ danah boyd. “Why Youth (Heart) Social Networking Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning, Identity Volume. ed. David Buckingham.
  33. Jump up^ Rembrandt by himself, op cit, p.211
  34. Jump up^ A better-known version is in the Uffizi. This one was sold at auction in Germany in 2007
  35. Jump up^ Rembrandt by himself, op cit, pp 11-13; for the Arnolfini reference see: National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings, Lorne Campbell, 1998, ISBN 1-85709-171-XOL 392219MOCLC 40732051LCCN 98-66510, (also titled The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Schools)
  36. Jump up^ Aislinn Loconte in, Lucy Whitaker, Martin Clayton, The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection; Renaissance and Baroque, p.270, Royal Collection Publications, 2007, ISBN 978-1-902163-29-1. The biographer was Baldinucci. This is the version in the Royal Collection, there are others in the Pitti Palace etc.
  37. Jump up^ asks Michael Levey in Painting at Court, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1971, pp 124-5
  38. Jump up^ Virginia MFA
  39. Jump up^ Griselda Pollack
  40. Jump up^ Rebels and Martyrs, National Gallery
  41. Jump up^ Ses hits
  42. Jump up^ Jeancolas (1998), 164.

Further reading

Not in English

  • Joëlle Moulin, L’autoportrait au XXe siècle, éd. Adam Biro, Paris, 1999
  • Pascal Bonafoux, Les peintres et l’autoportrait, 1984
  • Bernard Auriol, L’image préalable, l’expression impressive et l’autoportrait, Psychologie Médicale, 19, 9, 1543–1547, 1987 {available on line : self-portrait}
  • Bonafoux, Pascal / Rosenberg, David: Moi! Autoportraits du XXe siècleMusée du Luxembourg (Paris) / Skira Editore (Milano), Exhibition catalogue. 2004, Text French, Paris 2004, ISBN 88-8491-854-5 The book presents 155 artist (fine art) of the 20th century by showing their self-portraits added by informative texts.
  • Borzello, Frances: Wie Frauen sich sehen  –  Selbstbildnisse aus fünf Jahrhunderten. Karl Blessing Verlag, München 1998, ISBN 3-89667-052-2
  • Calabrese, Omar: Die Geschichte des Selbstporträts. Deutscher Kunstverlag, München 2006, ISBN 3-7774-2955-4
  • Pfisterer, Ulrich / Rosen, Valeska von ~ (Hrsg.): Der Künstler als Kunstwerk. Selbstporträts vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. Reclam, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-15-010571-4 (Rezension)
  • Jeancolas, Claude. (1998). Passion Rimbaud: L’Album d’une vie(in French) Paris: Textuel. ISBN 978-2-909317-66-3
  • Kathrin Schmidt: Annegret Soltau: ich selbst, Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt (Germany), 2006 ISBN 3-935062-06-0

Self-portrait in neurology

  • Tielsch AH, Allen PJ (2005) Listen to them draw: screening children in primary care through the use of human figure drawings. Pediatr Nurs 31(4): 320–327. This survey of literature is focused on the method of drawing people as the method of diagnostics. Children’s figures can recognize mental disorders. The authors describe the use of self-portraits for diagnostics of emotional disorders in children from 6 to 12 years. Although this procedure does not make it possible to place final diagnosis, it is useful for the recognition of problems.
  • Morin C, Pradat-Diehl P, Robain G, Bensalah Y, Perrigot M (2003) Stroke hemiplegia and specular image: lessons from self-portraits. Int J Aging Hum Dev 56(1): 1-41. Patients with hemiplegia have diverse problems of self-perception, which are caused by neurological defeats of the idea of body, or by psychological problems with the perception their own self.

Psychology of self-perception

  • Wegner DM (2003) The mind’s self-portrait. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1001: 212–225. Psychology and neuroscience approach understanding of reason and consciousness. Meanwhile, each human reason contains the self-portrait, which contains the self-appraisal of cognitive processes. This self-portrait assumes that the actions of man are governed by thoughts and, thus, the body is governed by consciousness. Self-portrait leads to the persuasion, that we consciously desire to make something. Studies show that self-portraiture is a caricature on the function of the brain, but at the same time it is the basis of the sensation of authorship and responsibility of one’s own actions.

External links

One can also use the term “autoportrait” in the search engine of the Joconde database, which describes the works of 84 French museums, including the Louvre:

Portrait painting

Portrait painting is a genre in painting, where the intent is to depict a human subject. The term ‘portrait painting’ can also describe the actual painted portrait. Portraitists may create their work by commission, for public and private persons, or they may be inspired by admiration or affection for the subject. Portraits are often important state and family records, as well as remembrances.

Historically, portrait paintings have primarily memorialized the rich and powerful. Over time, however, it became more common for middle-class patrons to commission portraits of their families and colleagues. Today, portrait paintings are still commissioned by governments, corporations, groups, clubs, and individuals. In addition to painting, portraits can also be made in other media such as etchinglithographyphotography, video and digital media.

The official Chinese court portrait painting of Empress Cao (wife of Emperor Renzong) of Song Dynasty, 11th century

Technique and practice of Portrait painting

Anthony van DyckCharles I in Three Positions, 1635-1636, shows profile, full face and three-quarter views, to send to Bernini in Rome, who was to sculpt a bust from this model.

A well-executed portrait is expected to show the inner essence of the subject (from the artist’s point of view) or a flattering representation, not just a literal likeness. As Aristotle stated, “The aim of Art is to present not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance; for this, not the external manner and detail, constitutes true reality.”[1] Artists may strive for photographic realism or an impressionistic similarity in depicting their subject, but this differs from a caricature which attempts to reveal character through exaggeration of physical features. The artist generally attempts a representative portrayal, as Edward Burne-Jones stated, “The only expression allowable in great portraiture is the expression of character and moral quality, not anything temporary, fleeting, or accidental.”[2]

In most cases, this results in a serious, closed lip stare, with anything beyond a slight smile being rather rare historically. Or as Charles Dickens put it, “there are only two styles of portrait painting: the serious and the smirk.”[3]Even given these limitations, a full range of subtle emotions is possible from quiet menace to gentle contentment. However, with the mouth relatively neutral, much of the facial expression needs to be created through the eyes and eyebrows. As author and artist Gordon C. Aymar states, “the eyes are the place one looks for the most complete, reliable, and pertinent information” about the subject. And the eyebrows can register, “almost single-handedly, wonder, pity, fright, pain, cynicism, concentration, wistfulness, displeasure, and expectation, in infinite variations and combinations.”[4]

Portrait painting can depict the subject ‘full length’, ‘half length’, ‘head and shoulders’ (also called a “bust”), or ‘head’, as well as in profile, “three-quarter view”, or “full face”, with varying directions of light and shadow. Occasionally, artists have created portraits with multiple views, as with Anthony van Dyck‘s “Triple Portrait of Charles I”.[5] There are even a few portraits where the front of the subject is not visible at all. Andrew Wyeth‘s Christina’s World (1948) is a famous example, where the pose of the disabled girl with her back turned to the viewer integrates with the setting in which she is placed to convey the artist’s interpretation.[6]

Another example of the “three-quarter view” in portraiture, in this case photography, can be found here, at the Portrait article.

Mme. Charpentier and her children, 1878, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Gilbert StuartPortrait of George Washington, c.1796

Among the other possible variables, the subject can be clothed or nude; indoors or out; standing, seated, reclining; even horse-mounted. Portrait paintings can be of individuals, couples, parents and children, families, or collegial groups. They can be created in various media including oilswatercolorpen and inkpencilcharcoalpastel, and mixed media. Artists may employ a wide-ranging palette of colors, as with Pierre-Auguste Renoir‘s Mme. Charpentier and her children, 1878 or restrict themselves to mostly white or black, as with Gilbert Stuart‘s Portrait of George Washington (1796).

Sometimes, the overall size of the portrait is an important consideration. Chuck Close‘s enormous portraits created for museum display differ greatly from most portraits designed to fit in the home or to travel easily with the client. Frequently, an artist takes into account where the final portrait will hang and the colors and style of the surrounding décor.[7]

Timing of portrait painting

Creating a portrait can take considerable time, usually requiring several sittings. Cézanne, on one extreme, insisted on over 100 sittings from his subject.[8] Goya on the other hand, preferred one long day’s sitting.[9] The average is about four.[10] Portraitists sometimes present their sitters with a portfolio of drawings or photos from which a sitter would select a preferred pose, as did Sir Joshua Reynolds. Some, such as Hans Holbein the Younger make a drawing of the face, then complete the rest of the painting without the sitter.[11] In the 18th century, it would typically take about one year to deliver a completed portrait to a client.[12]


Managing the sitter’s expectations and mood is a serious concern for the portrait artist. As to the faithfulness of the portrait to the sitter’s appearance, portraitists are generally consistent in their approach. Clients who sought out Sir Joshua Reynolds knew that they would receive a flattering result, while sitters of Thomas Eakins knew to expect a realistic, unsparing portrait. Some subjects voice strong preferences, others let the artist decide entirely. Oliver Cromwell famously demanded that his portrait show “all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.”[13]

After putting the sitter at ease and encouraging a natural pose, the artist studies his subject, looking for the one facial expression, out of many possibilities, that satisfies his concept of the sitter’s essence. The posture of the subject is also carefully considered to reveal the emotional and physical state of the sitter, as is the costume. To keep the sitter engaged and motivated, the skillful artist will often maintain a pleasant demeanor and conversation. Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun advised fellow artists to flatter women and compliment their appearance to gain their cooperation at the sitting.[13]


Central to the successful execution of the portrait is a mastery of human anatomy. Human faces are asymmetrical and skillful portrait artists reproduce this with subtle left-right differences. Artists need to be knowledgeable about the underlying bone and tissue structure to make a convincing portrait.

Margaret in Skating Costume by Thomas Eakins.

For complex compositions, the artist may first do a complete pencil, ink, charcoal, or oil sketch which is particularly useful if the sitter’s available time is limited. Otherwise, the general form then a rough likeness is sketched out on the canvas in pencil, charcoal, or thin oil. In many cases, the face is completed first, and the rest afterwards. In the studios of many of the great portrait artists, the master would do only the head and hands, while the clothing and background would be completed by the principal apprentices. There were even outside specialists who handled specific items such as drapery and clothing, such as Joseph van Aken[14] Some artists in past times used lay-figures or dolls to help establish and execute the pose and the clothing.[15] The use of symbolic elements placed around the sitter (including signs, household objects, animals, and plants) was often used to encode the painting with the moral or religious character of the subject, or with symbols representing the sitter’s occupation, interests, or social status. The background can be totally black and without content or a full scene which places the sitter in their social or recreational milieu.

Self-portraits are usually produced with the help of a mirror, and the finished result is a mirror-image portrait, a reversal of what occurs in a normal portrait when sitter and artist are opposite each other. In a self-portrait, a righted handed artist would appear to be holding a brush in the left hand, unless the artist deliberately corrects the image or uses a second reversing mirror while painting.

Occasionally, the client or the client’s family is unhappy with the resulting portrait and the artist is obliged to re-touch it or do it over or withdraw from the commission without being paid, suffering the humiliation of failure. Jacques-Louis David celebrated portrait of Madame Récamier, wildly popular in exhibitions, was rejected by the sitter, as was John Singer Sargent‘s notorious Portrait of Madame XJohn Trumbull‘s full-length portrait, General George Washington at Trenton, was rejected by the committee that commissioned it.[16] The famously prickly Gilbert Stuart once replied to a client’s dissatisfaction with his wife’s portrait by retorting, “You brought me a potato, and you expect a peach!”[17]

A successful portrait, however, can gain the lifelong gratitude of a client. Count Balthazar was so pleased with the portrait Raphael had created of his wife that he told the artist, “Your image…alone can lighten my cares. That image is my delight; I direct my smiles to it, it is my joy.”[18]

History of Portrait painting

Ancient world

Portraiture’s roots are likely found in prehistoric times, although few of these works survive today. In the art of the ancient civilizations of the Fertile Crescent, especially in Egypt, depictions of rulers and gods abound. However, most of these were done in a highly stylized fashion, and most in profile, usually on stone, metal, clay, plaster, or crystal. Egyptian portraiture placed relatively little emphasis on likeness, at least until the period of Akhenaten in the 14th century BC. Portrait painting of notables in China probably goes back to over 1000 BC, though none survive from that age. Existing Chinese portraits go back to about 1000 AD[19]

From literary evidence we know that ancient Greek painting included portraiture, often highly accurate if the praises of writers are to be believed, but no painted examples remain. Sculpted heads of rulers and famous personalities like Socrates survive in some quantity, and like the individualized busts of Hellenistic rulers on coins, show that Greek portraiture could achieve a good likeness, and subjects were depicted with relatively little flattery – Socrates’ portraits show why he had a reputation for being ugly. The successors of Alexander the Great began the practice of adding his head (as a deified figure) to their coins, and were soon using their own.

Roman portraiture adopted traditions of portraiture from both the Etruscans and Greeks, and developed a very strong tradition, linked to their religious use of ancestor portraits, as well as Roman politics. Again, the few painted survivals, in the Fayum portraitsTomb of Aline and the Severan Tondo, all from Egypt under Roman rule, are clearly provincial productions that reflect Greek rather than Roman styles, but we have a wealth of sculpted heads, including many individualized portraits from middle-class tombs, and thousands of types of coin portraits.

Funeral paintings

Roman-Egyptian funeral portrait of a woman

Much the largest group of painted portraits are the funeral paintings that survived in the dry climate of Egypt’s Fayum district (see illustration, below), dating from the 2nd to 4th century AD. These are almost the only paintings of the Roman period that have survived, aside from frescos, though it is known from the writings of Pliny the Elder that portrait painting was well established in Greek times, and practiced by both men and women artists.[20] In his times, Pliny complained of the declining state of Roman portrait art, “The painting of portraits which used to transmit through the ages the accurate likenesses of people, has entirely gone out…Indolence has destroyed the arts.” [21][22] These full-face portraits from Roman Egypt are fortunate exceptions. They present a somewhat realistic sense of proportion and individual detail (though the eyes are generally oversized and the artistic skill varies considerably from artist to artist). The Fayum portraits were painted on wood or ivory in wax and resin colors (encaustic) or with tempera, and inserted into the mummy wrapping, to remain with the body through eternity.

Roman sculptures

While free-standing portrait painting diminished in Rome, the art of the portrait flourished in Roman sculptures, where sitters demanded realism, even if unflattering. During the 4th century, the sculpted portrait dominated, with a retreat in favor of an idealized symbol of what that person looked like. (Compare the portraits of Roman Emperors Constantine I and Theodosius I) In the Late Antique period the interest in an individual likeness declined considerably, and most portraits in late Roman coins and consular diptychs are hardly individualized at all, although at the same time Early Christian art was evolving fairly standardized images for the depiction of Jesus and the other major figures in Christian art, such as John the Baptist, and Saint Peter.

Middle Ages

The small private Wilton Diptych for Richard II of England, c. 1400, with stamped gold backgrounds and much ultramarine.

Most early medieval portraits were donor portraits, initially mostly of popes in Roman mosaics, and illuminated manuscripts, an example being a self-portrait by the writer, mystic, scientist, illuminator, and musician Hildegard of Bingen (1152).[23] As with contemporary coins, there was little attempt at a likeness. Stone tomb monuments spread in the Romanesque period. Between 1350-1400, secular figures began to reappear in frescos and panel paintings, such as in Master Theodoric‘s Charles IV receiving fealty,[24] and portraits once again became clear likenesses. Around the end of the century, the first oil portraits of contemporary individuals, painted on small wood panels, emerged in Burgundy and France, first as profiles, then in other views. The Wilton Diptych of ca. 1400 is one of two surviving panel portraits of Richard II of England, the earliest English King for whom we have contemporary examples. Leading Early Netherlandish masters of the portrait included Jan van EyckRobert Campin and Rogier van der Weyden. Portraits of donors began to be shown as present, or participate in the main sacred scenes shown, and in more private court images subjects even appeared as significant figures such as the Virgin Mary.


The Renaissance marked a turning point in the history of portraiture. Partly out of interest in the natural world and partly out of interest in the classical cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, portraits—both painted and sculpted—were given an important role in Renaissance society and valued as objects, and as depictions of earthly success and status. Painting in general reached a new level of balance, harmony, and insight, and the greatest artists (Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael) were considered “geniuses”, rising far above the tradesman status to valued servants of the court and the church.[25]

Many innovations in the various forms of portraiture evolved during this fertile period. The tradition of the portrait miniature began, which remained popular until the age of photography, developing out of the skills of painters of the miniatures in illuminated manuscripts. Profile portraits, inspired by ancient medallions, were particularly popular in Italy between 1450 and 1500. Medals, with their two–sided images, also inspired a short-lived vogue for two-sided paintings early in the Renaissance.[26] Classical sculpture, such as the Apollo Belvedere, also influenced the choice of poses utilized by Renaissance portraitists, poses that have continued in usage through the centuries.[27]

Northern European artists led the way in realistic portraits of secular subjects. The greater realism and detail of the Northern artists during the 15th century was due in part to the finer brush strokes and effects possible with oil colors, while the Italian and Spanish painters were still using tempera. Among the earliest painters to develop oil technique was Jan van Eyck. Oil colors can produce more texture and grades of thickness, and can be layered more effectively, with the addition of increasingly thick layers one over another (known by painters as ‘fat over lean’). Also, oil colors dry more slowly, allowing the artist to make changes readily, such as altering facial details. Antonello da Messina was one of the first Italians to take advantage of oil. Trained in Belgium, he settled in Venice around 1475, and was a major influence on Giovanni Bellini and the Northern Italian school.[28] During the 16th century, oil as a medium spread in popularity throughout Europe, allowing for more sumptuous renderings of clothing and jewelry. Also affecting the quality of the images, was the switch from wood to canvas, starting in Italy in the early part of the 16th century and spreading to Northern Europe over the next century. Canvas resists cracking better than wood, holds pigments better, and needs less preparation―but it was initially much scarcer than wood.

Early on, the Northern Europeans abandoned the profile, and started producing portraits of realistic volume and perspective. In the Netherlands, Jan van Eyck was a leading portraitist. The Arnolfini Marriage (1434, National Gallery, London) is a landmark of Western art, an early example of a full-length couple portrait, superbly painted in rich colors and exquisite detail. But equally important, it showcases the newly developed technique of oil painting pioneered by van Eyck, which revolutionized art, and spread throughout Europe.[29]

Leading German portrait artists including Lucas CranachAlbrecht Dürer, and Hans Holbein the Younger who all mastered oil painting technique. Cranach was one of the first artists to paint life-sized full-length commissions, a tradition popular from then on.[30] At that time, England had no portrait painters of the first rank, and artists like Holbein were in demand by English patrons.[31] His painting of Sir Thomas More (1527), his first important patron in England, has nearly the realism of a photograph.[32] Holbein made his great success painting the royal family, including Henry VIII. Dürer was an outstanding draftsman and one of the first major artists to make a sequence of self-portraits, including a full-face painting. He also placed his self-portrait figure (as an onlooker) in several of his religious paintings.[33] Dürer began making self-portraits at the age of thirteen.[34] Later, Rembrandt would amplify that tradition.

In Italy, Masaccio led the way in modernizing the fresco by adopting more realistic perspective. Filippo Lippi paved the way in developing sharper contours and sinuous lines[35] and his pupil Raphael extended realism in Italy to a much higher level in the following decades with his monumental wall paintings.[36] During this time, the betrothal portrait became popular, a particular specialty of Lorenzo Lotto.[37] During the early Renaissance, portrait paintings were generally small and sometimes covered with protective lids, hinged or sliding.[38]

In the time of Renaissance, the Florentine and Milanese nobility, in particular, wanted more realistic representations of themselves. The challenge of creating convincing full and three-quarter views stimulated experimentation and innovation. Sandro BotticelliPiero della FrancescaDomenico GhirlandaioLorenzo di Credi, and Leonardo da Vinci and other artists expanded their technique accordingly, adding portraiture to traditional religious and classical subjects. Leonardo and Pisanello were among the first Italian artists to add allegorical symbols to their secular portraits.[36]

Leonardo da VinciMona Lisa or La Gioconda, 1503–1505/1507

One of best-known portraits in the Western world is Leonardo da Vinci‘s painting titled Mona Lisa, named for Lisa del Giocondo,[39][40][41] a member of the Gherardini family of Florence and Tuscany and the wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. The famous “Mona Lisa smile” is an excellent example of applying subtle asymmetry to a face. In his notebooks, Leonardo advises on the qualities of light in portrait painting:

A very high degree of grace in the light and shadow is added to the faces of those who sit in the doorways of rooms that are dark, where the eyes of the observer see the shadowed part of the face obscured by the shadows of the room, and see the lighted part of the face with the greater brilliance which the air gives it. Through this increase in the shadows and the lights, the face is given greater relief.[42]

Leonardo was a student of Verrocchio. After becoming a member of the Guild of Painters, he began to accept independent commissions. Owing to his wide-ranging interests and in accordance with his scientific mind, his output of drawings and preliminary studies is immense though his finished artistic output is relatively small. His other memorable portraits included those of noblewomen Ginevra de’ Benci and Cecilia Gallerani.[43]

Raphael’s surviving commission portraits are far more numerous than those of Leonardo, and they display a greater variety of poses, lighting, and technique. Rather than producing revolutionary innovations, Raphael’s great accomplishment was strengthening and refining the evolving currents of Renaissance art.[44] He was particularly expert in the group portrait. His masterpiece the School of Athens is one of the foremost group frescoes, containing likenesses of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Bramante, and Raphael himself, in the guise of ancient philosophers.[45] It was not the first group portrait of artists. Decades earlier, Paolo Uccello had painted a group portrait including GiottoDonatelloAntonio Manetti, and Brunelleschi.[33] As he rose in prominence, Raphael became a favorite portraitist of the popes. While many Renaissance artists eagerly accepted portrait commissions, a few artists refused them, most notably Raphael’s rival Michelangelo, who instead undertook the huge commissions of the Sistine Chapel.[36]

In Venice around 1500, Gentile Bellini and Giovanni Bellini dominated portrait painting. They received the highest commissions from the leading officials of the state. Bellini’s portrait of Doge Loredan is considered to be one of the finest portraits of the Renaissance and ably demonstrates the artist’s mastery of the newly arrived techniques of oil painting.[46] Bellini is also one of the first artists in Europe to sign their work, though he rarely dated them.[47] Later in the 16th century, Titian assumed much the same role, particularly by expanding the variety of poses and sittings of his royal subjects. Titian was perhaps the first great child portraitist.[48]

After Titian succumbed to the plague, Tintoretto and Veronese became leading Venetian artists, helping the transition to Italian Mannerism. The Mannerists contributed many exceptional portraits that emphasized material richness and elegantly complex poses, as in the works of Agnolo Bronzino and Jacopo da Pontormo. Bronzino made his fame portraying the Medici family. His daring portrait of Cosimo I de’ Medici, shows the austere ruler in armor with a wary eye gazed to his extreme right, in sharp contrast to most royal paintings which show their sitters as benign sovereigns.[49] El Greco, who trained in Venice for twelve years, went in a more extreme direction after his arrival in Spain, emphasizing his “inner vision” of the sitter to the point of diminishing the reality of physical appearance.[50] One of the best portraitists of 16th-century Italy was Sofonisba Anguissola from Cremona, who infused her individual and group portraits with new levels of complexity.

Court portraiture in France began when Flemish artist Jean Clouet painted his opulent likeness of Francis I of France around 1525.[51] King Francis was a great patron of artists and an avaricious art collector who invited Leonardo da Vinci to live in France during his later years. The Mona Lisa stayed in France after Leonardo died there.[51]

Baroque and Rococo

Rembrandt group portrait, The Syndics of the Clothmaker’s Guild, 1662.

During the Baroque and Rococo periods (17th and 18th centuries, respectively), portraits became even more important records of status and position. In a society dominated increasingly by secular leaders in powerful courts, images of opulently attired figures were a means to affirm the authority of important individuals. Flemish painters Sir Anthony van Dyck and Peter Paul Rubens excelled at this type of portraiture, while Jan Vermeer produced portraits mostly of the middle class, at work and play indoors. Rubens’ portrait of himself and his first wife (1609) in their wedding attire is a virtuoso example of the couple portrait.[52]Rubens fame extended beyond his art—he was a courtier, diplomat, art collector, and successful businessman. His studio was one of the most extensive of that time, employing specialists in still-life, landscape, animal and genre scenes, in addition to portraiture. Van Dyck trained there for two years.[53]

Charles I of England first employed Rubens, then imported van Dyck as his court painter, knighting him and bestowing on him courtly status. Van Dyck not only adapted Rubens’ production methods and business skills, but also his elegant manners and appearance. As was recorded, “He always went magnificently dress’d, had a numerous and gallant equipage, and kept so noble a table in his apartment, that few princes were not more visited, or better serv’d.”[54] In France, Hyacinthe Rigaud dominated in much the same way, as a remarkable chronicler of royalty, painting the portraits of five French kings.[55]

One of the innovations of Renaissance art was the improved rendering of facial expressions to accompany different emotions. In particular, Dutch painter Rembrandt explored the many expressions of the human face, especially as one of the premier self-portraitists (of which he painted over 60 in his lifetime).[56] This interest in the human face also fostered the creation of the first caricatures, credited to the Carracci Academy, run by painters of the Carracci family in the late 16th century in Bologna, Italy (see Annibale Carracci).

Group portraits were produced in great numbers during the Baroque period, particularly in the Netherlands. Unlike in the rest of Europe, Dutch artists received no commissions from the Calvinist Church which had forbidden such images or from the aristocracy which was virtually non-existent. Instead, commissions came from civic and businesses associations. Dutch painter Frans Hals used fluid brush strokes of vivid color to enliven his group portraits, including those of the civil guards to which he belonged. Rembrandt benefitted greatly from such commissions and from the general appreciation of art by bourgeois clients, who supported portraiture as well as still-life and landscapes painting. In addition, the first significant art and dealer markets flourished in Holland at that time.[57]

With plenty of demand, Rembrandt was able to experiment with unconventional composition and technique, such as chiaroscuro. He demonstrated these innovations, pioneered by Italian masters such as Caravaggio, most notably in his famous Night Watch (1642).[58] The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp (1632) is another fine example of Rembrandt’s mastery of the group painting, in which he bathes the corpse in bright light to draw attention to the center of the painting while the clothing and background merge into black, making the faces of the surgeon and the students standout. It is also the first painting that Rembrandt signed with his full name.[59]

In Spain, Diego Velázquez painted Las Meninas (1656), one of the most famous and enigmatic group portraits of all time. It memorializes the artist and the children of the Spanish royal family, and apparently the sitters are the royal couple who are seen only as reflections in a mirror.[60] Starting out as primarily a genre painter, Velázquez quickly rose to prominence as the court painter of Philip IV, excelling in the art of portraiture, particularly in extending the complexity of group portraits.[61]

Rococo artists, who were particularly interested in rich and intricate ornamentation, were masters of the refined portrait. Their attention to the details of dress and texture increased the efficacy of portraits as testaments to worldly wealth, as evidenced by François Boucher‘s famous portraits of Madame de Pompadour attired in billowing silk gowns.

The first major native portrait painters of the British school were English painters Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds, who also specialized in clothing their subjects in an eye-catching manner. Gainsborough’s Blue Boy is one of the most famous and recognized portraits of all time, painted with very long brushes and thin oil color to achieve the shimmering effect of the blue costume.[62] Gainsborough was also noted for his elaborate background settings for his subjects.

The two British artists had opposite opinions on using assistants. Reynolds employing them regularly (sometimes doing only 20 percent of the painting himself) while Gainsborough rarely did.[63] Sometimes a client would extract a pledge from the artist, as did Sir Richard Newdegate from portraitist Peter Lely (van Dyck’s successor in England), who promised that the portrait would be “from the Beginning to ye end drawne with my owne hands.”[64] Unlike the exactitude employed by the Flemish masters, Reynolds summed up his approach to portraiture by stating that, “the grace, and, we may add, the likeness, consists more in taking the general air, than in observing the exact similitude of every feature.”[65] Also prominent in England was William Hogarth, who dared to buck conventional methods by introducing touches of humor in his portraits. His “Self-portrait with Pug” is clearly more a humorous take on his pet than a self-indulgent painting.[66]

In the 18th century, female painters gained new importance, particularly in the field of portraiture. Notable female artists include French painter Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Italian pastel artist Rosalba Carriera, and Swiss artist Angelica Kauffman. Also during that century, before the invention of photography, miniature portraits―painted with incredible precision and often encased in gold or enameled lockets―were highly valued.

In the United States, John Singleton Copley, schooled in the refined British manner, became the leading painter of full-size and miniature portraits, with his hyper-realistic pictures of Samuel Adams and Paul Revere especially well-regarded. Copley is also notable for his efforts to merge portraiture with the academically more revered art of history painting, which he attempted with his group portraits of famous military men.[67] Equally famous was Gilbert Stuart who painted over 1,000 portraits and was especially known for his presidential portraiture. Stuart painted over 100 replicas of George Washington alone.[68] Stuart worked quickly and employed softer, less detailed brush strokes than Copley to capture the essence of his subjects. Sometimes he would make several versions for a client, allowing the sitter to pick their favorite.[69] Noted for his rosy cheek tones, Stuart wrote, “flesh is like no other substance under heaven. It has all the gaiety of the silk-mercer’s shop without its gaudiness of gloss, and all the softness of old mahogany, without its sadness.” [70] Other prominent American portraitists of the colonial era were John SmibertThomas SullyRalph EarlJohn TrumbullBenjamin WestRobert FekeJames PealeCharles Willson Peale, and Rembrandt Peale.

19th century

Piotr MichałowskiArtist’s daughter on horseback, ca 1853, National Museum in Warsaw

In the late 18th century and early 19th century, neoclassical artists continued the tradition of depicting subjects in the latest fashions, which for women by then, meant diaphanous gowns derived from ancient Greek and Roman clothing styles. The artists used directed light to define texture and the simple roundness of faces and limbs. French painters Jacques-Louis David and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres demonstrated virtuosity in this draftsman-like technique as well as a keen eye for character. Ingres, a student of David, is notable for his portraits in which a mirror is painted behind the subject to simulate a rear view of the subject.[71] His portrait of Napoleon on his imperial throne is a tour de force of regal portraiture. (see Gallery below)

Romantic artists who worked during the first half of the 19th century painted portraits of inspiring leaders, beautiful women, and agitated subjects, using lively brush strokes and dramatic, sometimes moody, lighting. French artists Eugène Delacroix and Théodore Géricault painted particularly fine portraits of this type, especially dashing horsemen.[72] A notable example of artist of romantic period in Poland, who practised a horserider portrait was Piotr Michałowski(1800-1855). Also noteworthy is Géricault’s series of portraits of mental patients (1822–1824). Spanish painter Francisco de Goya painted some of the most searching and provocative images of the period, including La maja desnuda(c. 1797-1800), as well as famous court portraits of Charles IV.

The realist artists of the 19th century, such as Gustave Courbet, created objective portraits depicting lower and middle-class people. Demonstrating his romanticism, Courbet painted several self-portraits showing himself in varying moods and expressions.[73] Other French realists include Honoré Daumier who produced many caricatures of his contemporaries. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrecchronicled some of the famous performers of the theater, including Jane Avril, capturing them in motion.[74] French painter Édouard Manet, was an important transitional artist whose work hovers between realism and impressionism. He was a portraitist of outstanding insight and technique, with his painting of Stéphane Mallarmé being a good example of his transitional style. His contemporary Edgar Degas was primarily a realist and his painting Portrait of the Bellelli Family is an insightful rendering of an unhappy family and one of his finest portraits.[75]

In America, Thomas Eakins reigned as the premier portrait painter, taking realism to a new level of frankness, especially with his two portraits of surgeons at work, as well as those of athletes and musicians in action. In many portraits, such as “Portrait of Mrs. Edith Mahon”, Eakins boldly conveys the unflattering emotions of sorrow and melancholy.[76]

The Realists mostly gave way to the Impressionists by the 1870s. Partly due to their meager incomes, many of the Impressionists relied on family and friends to model for them, and they painted intimate groups and single figures in either outdoors or in light-filled interiors. Noted for their shimmering surfaces and rich dabs of paint, Impressionist portraits are often disarmingly intimate and appealing. French painters Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir created some of the most popular images of individual sitters and groups. American artist Mary Cassatt, who trained and worked in France, is popular even today for her engaging paintings of mothers and children, as is Renoir.[77] Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh, both Post-Impressionists, painted revealing portraits of people they knew, swirling in color but not necessarily flattering. They are equally, if not more so, celebrated for their powerful self-portraits.

John Singer Sargent also spanned the change of century, but he rejected overt Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. He was the most successful portrait painter of his era, using a mostly realistic technique often effused with the brilliant use of color. He was equally apt at individual and group portraits, particularly of upper-class families. Sargent was born in Florence, Italy to American parents. He studied in Italy and Germany, and in Paris. Sargent is considered to be the last major exponent of the British portrait tradition beginning with van Dyck.[77] Another prominent American portraitist who trained abroad was William Merritt Chase. American society painter Cecilia Beaux, called the “female Sargent”, was born of a French father, studied abroad and gained success back home, sticking with traditional methods. Another portraitist compared to Sargent for his lush technique was Italian-born Parisian artist Giovanni Boldini, a friend of Degas and Whistler.

American-born Internationalist James Abbott McNeill Whistler was well-connected with European artists and also painted some exceptional portraits, most famously his “Arrangement in Grey and Black, The Artist’s Mother” (1871), also known as “Whistler’s Mother”.[78] Even with his portraits, as with his tonal landscapes, Whistler wanted his viewers to focus on the harmonic arrangement of form and color in his paintings. Whistler used a subdued palette to create his intended effects, stressing color balance and soft tones. As he stated, “as music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight, and the subject-matter has nothing to do with the harmony of sound or of color.”[79]Form and color were also central to Cézanne‘s portraits, while even more extreme color and brush stroke technique dominate the portraits by André Derain, and Henri Matisse.[80]

The development of photography in the 19th century had a significant effect on portraiture, supplanting the earlier camera obscura which had also been previously used as an aid in painting. Many modernists flocked to the photography studios to have their portraits made, including Baudelaire who, though he proclaimed photography an “enemy of art”, found himself attracted to photography’s frankness and power.[81] By providing a cheap alternative, photography supplanted much of the lowest level of portrait painting. Some realist artists, such as Thomas Eakins and Edgar Degas, were enthusiastic about camera photography and found it to be a useful aid to composition. From the Impressionists forward, portrait painters found a myriad number of ways to reinterpret the portrait to compete effectively with photography.[82] Sargent and Whistler were among those stimulated to expand their technique to create effects that the camera could not capture.

20th century

Portrait of Gertrude Stein,1906, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. When someone commented that Stein did not look like her portrait, Picasso replied, “She will”.[83]

Other early 20th-century artists also expanded the repertoire of portraiture in new directions. Fauvist artist Henri Matisse produced powerful portraits using non-naturalistic, even garish, colors for skin tones. Cézanne‘s relied on highly simplified forms in his portraits, avoiding detail while emphasizing color juxtapositions.[84] Austrian Gustav Klimt‘s unique style applied Byzantine motifs and gold paint to his memorable portraits. His pupil Oskar Kokoschka was an important portraitist of the Viennese upper class. Prolific Spanish artist Pablo Picasso painted many portraits, including several cubist renderings of his mistresses, in which the likeness of the subject is grossly distorted to achieve an emotional statement well beyond the bounds of normal caricature.[85]

An outstanding female portrait painter of the turn of the 20th century, associated with the French impressionism, was Olga Boznańska (1865-1940). Expressionistpainters provided some of the most haunting and compelling psychological studies ever produced. German artists such as Otto Dix and Max Beckmann produced notable examples of expressionist portraiture. Beckmann was a prolific self-portraitist, producing at least twenty-seven.[86] Amedeo Modigliani painted many portraits in his elongated style which depreciated the “inner person” in favor of strict studies of form and color. To help achieve this, he de-emphasized the normally expressive eyes and eyebrows to the point of blackened slits and simple arches.[87]

Great Britain

British art was represented by the Vorticists, who painted some notable portraits in the early part of the 20th century. The Dada painter Francis Picabia executed numerous portraits in his unique fashion. Additionally, Tamara de Lempicka‘s portraits successfully captured the Art Deco era with her streamlined curves, rich colors and sharp angles. In America, Robert Henri and George Bellows were fine portraitists of the 1920s and 1930s of the American realist school. Max Ernst produced an example of a modern collegial portrait with his 1922 painting “All Friends Together”.[88]

Andy WarholMarilyn Diptych, 1962, 2,054 cm × 1,448 cm., (809 in × 570 in), Tate Gallery, London. Andy Warhol (1928-1987), made several portraits of Marilyn Monroe and other celebrities during the 1960s and throughout his career.


A significant contribution to the development of portrait painting of 1930-2000 was made by Russian artists, mainly working in the traditions of realist and figurative painting. Among them should be called Isaak BrodskyNikolai FechinAbram Arkhipov and others.[89]


Portrait production in Europe (excluding Russia) and the Americas generally declined in the 1940s and 1950s, a result of the increasing interest in abstraction and nonfigurative art. One exception, however, was Andrew Wyeth who developed into the leading American realist portrait painter. With Wyeth, realism, though overt, is secondary to the tonal qualities and mood of his paintings. This is aptly demonstrated with his landmark series of paintings known as the “Helga” pictures, the largest group of portraits of a single person by any major artist (247 studies of his neighbor Helga Testorf, clothed and nude, in varying surroundings, painted during the period 1971–1985).[90]

By the 1960s and 1970s, there was a revival of portraiture. English artists such as Lucian Freud (grandson of Sigmund Freud) and Francis Bacon have produced powerful paintings. Bacon’s portraits are notable for their nightmarish quality. In May 2008, Freud’s 1995 portrait Benefits Supervisor Sleeping was sold by auction by Christie’s in New York City for $33.6 million, setting a world record for sale value of a painting by a living artist.[91] Many contemporary American artists, such as Andy WarholAlex Katz and Chuck Close, have made the human face a focal point of their work. Warhol’s painting of Marilyn Monroe is an iconic example. Close’s specialty was huge, hyper-realistic wall-sized “head” portraits based on photographic images. Jamie Wyeth continues in the realist tradition of his father Andrew, producing famous portraits whose subjects range from Presidents to pigs.

Gallery of Portrait paintings

See also

References and notes

  1. Jump up^ Gordon C. Aymar, The Art of Portrait Painting, Chilton Book Co., Philadelphia, 1967, p. 119
  2. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 94
  3. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 129
  4. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 93
  5. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 283
  6. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 235
  7. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 280
  8. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 51
  9. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 72
  10. Jump up^ Robin Simon, The Portrait in Britain and America, G. K. Hall & Co., Boston, 1987, p. 131, ISBN 0-8161-8795-9
  11. Jump up^ Simon, p. 129
  12. Jump up^ Simon, p. 131
  13. Jump up to:a b Aymar, p. 262
  14. Jump up^ Simon, p. 98
  15. Jump up^ Simon, p. 107
  16. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 268, 271, 278
  17. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 264
  18. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 265
  19. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 5
  20. Jump up^ Cheney, Faxon, and Russo, Self-Portraits by Women Painters, Ashgate Publishing, Hants (England), 2000, p. 7, ISBN 1-85928-424-8
  21. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, The Portrait in the Renaissance, Bollingen Foundation, New York, 1966, pp. 71-72
  22. Jump up^ Natural History XXXV:2 trans H. Rackham 1952. Loeb Classical Library
  23. Jump up^ Cheney, Faxon, and Russo, p. 20
  24. Jump up^ David Piper, The Illustrated Library of Art, Portland House, New York, 1986, p. 297, ISBN 0-517-62336-6
  25. Jump up^ Piper, p. 337
  26. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, p. 209
  27. Jump up^ Simon, p. 80
  28. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, p. 54, 63
  29. Jump up^ Piper, p. 301
  30. Jump up^ Piper, p. 363
  31. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 29
  32. Jump up^ Piper, p. 365
  33. Jump up to:a b Bonafoux, p. 35
  34. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, pp. 124-126
  35. Jump up^ Piper, p. 318
  36. Jump up to:a b c John Hope-Hennessy, p. 20
  37. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, p. 227
  38. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, p. 212
  39. Jump up^ “Mona Lisa – Heidelberger Fund klärt Identität (English: Mona Lisa – Heidelberger find clarifies identity)” (in German). University of Heidelberg. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  40. Jump up^ “German experts crack the ID of ‘Mona Lisa'”MSN. 2008-01-14. Archived from the original on 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  41. Jump up^ “Researchers Identify Model for Mona Lisa”The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-29.[dead link]
  42. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, pp. 103-4
  43. Jump up^ Piper, p. 338
  44. Jump up^ Piper, p. 345
  45. Jump up^ Pascal Bonafoux, Portraits of the Artist: The Self-Portrait in Painting, Skira/Rizzoli, New York, 1985, p. 31, ISBN 0-8478-0586-7
  46. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, p. 52
  47. Jump up^ Piper, p. 330
  48. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, p. 279
  49. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, p. 182
  50. Jump up^ John Hope-Hennessy, p. 154
  51. Jump up to:a b John Hope-Hennessy, p. 187
  52. Jump up^ Bonafoux, p. 40
  53. Jump up^ Piper, pp. 408-410
  54. Jump up^ Simon, p. 109
  55. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 162
  56. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 161
  57. Jump up^ Piper, p. 421
  58. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 218
  59. Jump up^ Piper, p. 424
  60. Jump up^ Bonafoux, p. 62
  61. Jump up^ Piper, p. 418
  62. Jump up^ Piper, p. 460
  63. Jump up^ Simon, p. 13, 97
  64. Jump up^ Simon, p. 97
  65. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 62
  66. Jump up^ Simon, p. 92
  67. Jump up^ Simon, p. 19
  68. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 204
  69. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 263
  70. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 149
  71. Jump up^ Bonafoux, p. 99
  72. Jump up^ Piper, p. 542
  73. Jump up^ Bonafoux, p. 111
  74. Jump up^ Piper, p. 585
  75. Jump up^ Piper, p. 568
  76. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 88
  77. Jump up to:a b Piper, p. 589
  78. Jump up^ Piper, p. 561
  79. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 299
  80. Jump up^ Piper, p. 576
  81. Jump up^ Piper, p. 552
  82. Jump up^ Simon, p. 49
  83. Jump up^ “Portrait of Gertrude Stein”. Metropolitan Museum. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  84. Jump up^ Piper, p. 582
  85. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 54
  86. Jump up^ Aymar, p. 188
  87. Jump up^ Piper, p. 646
  88. Jump up^ Bonafoux, p. 45
  89. Jump up^ Sergei V. Ivanov. Unknown Socialist Realism. The Leningrad School. – Saint Petersburg: NP-Print Edition, 2007. – 448 p. ISBN 5-901724-21-6ISBN 978-5-901724-21-7.
  90. Jump up^ ’’An American Vision: Three Generations of Wyeth Art, Boston, 1987, Little Brown & Company, p. 123, ISBN 0-8212-1652-X
  91. Jump up^ “Freud work sets new world record”. BBC News Online. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  92. Jump up^ Families in beeld – Frauke K. Laarmann, Families in beeld: De ontwikkeling van het Noord-Nederlandse familieportret in de eerste helft van de zeventiende eeuw. Hilversum, 2002, Verloren, ISBN 978-90-6550-186-8 Retrieved December 25, 2010
  • The New Age “Art Notes” column of 28 February 1918 is a closely reasoned analysis of the rationale and aesthetic of portraiture by B.H. Dias (pseudonym of Ezra Pound), an insightful frame of reference for viewing any portrait, ancient or modern.

Further reading on Portrait painting

External links

Alyssa Monks: Photo-realistic paintings

Alyssa_Monks_1977Alyssa Monks began oil painting as a child.

Born 1977 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Alyssa Monks studied at The New School in New York and Montclair State University and earned her B.A. from Boston College in 1999. During this time she studied painting at Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence. She went on to earn her M.F.A from the New York Academy of Art, Graduate School of Figurative Art in 2001. She completed an artist in residency at Fullerton College in 2006 and has lectured at universities and institution nation wide. She has taught Flesh Painting at the New York Academy of Art, as well as Montclair State University and the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

“Using filters such as glass, vinyl, water, and steam, I distort the body in shallow painted spaces. These filters allow for large areas of abstract design – islands of color with activated surfaces – while bits of the human form peak through. In a contemporary take on the traditional bathing women, my subjects are pushing against the glass “window”, distorting their own body, aware of and commanding the proverbial male gaze. Thick paint strokes in delicate color relationships are pushed and pulled to imitate glass, steam, water and flesh from a distance. However, up close, the delicious physical properties of oil paint are apparent. Thus sustaining the moment when abstract paint strokes become something else.”

“When I began painting the human body, I was obsessed with it and needed to create as much realism as possible. I chased realism until it began to unravel and deconstruct itself,” Alyssa Monks states, “I am exploring the possibility and potential where representational painting and abstraction meet – if both can coexist in the same moment.”

Monks’s paintings have been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions including “Intimacy” at the Kunst Museum in Ahlen, Germany and “Reconfiguring the Body in American Art, 1820–2009” at the National Academy Museum of Fine Arts, New York. Her work is represented in public and private collections, including the Savannah College of Arts, the Somerset Art Association and the collections of Howard Tullman, Danielle Steele and Eric Fischl.

Alyssa has been awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant for Painting three times and is a member of the New York Academy of Art’s Board of Trustees. She is currently represented by David Klein Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan. Alyssa Monks currently lives and paints in Brooklyn, New York.


Monks’s paintings are larger than life. They evoke a response that is serene and emotive. In a translucent surrounding, New York artist Alyssa Monk has created striking visuals of human expression.


Conversing in her Williamsburg studio, one becomes drawn to the canvases whose prominence equal the high-vaulted studio space which house them. Her bathtub series, a collection of portraits, feature partially concealed forms obscured by a foggy haze. Devoid of context, they appear as snapshots isolated in time focusing on pure sentiment.

Comply, Oil on Panel, 2013, Alyssa Monks

Comply, Oil on Panel, 2013, Alyssa Monks

Alyssa Monks, Painting: Comply, Detail

Alyssa Monks

Alyssa Monks

The series marks the result of a process developed over the last decade. The artist has created a seamless barrier between the viewer and subject. There is a sense of depth in a composition that lies on a two-dimensional plane. Expectations are deceived. But, this only adds to the singular impression.

Alyssa Monks, painting

Alyssa Monks

With a background in figurative painting, the ability to work the canvas speaks of her long time fondness for the human form. It has led the series to be labeled as photorealistic, but close inspection reveals images that are a compilation of brush strokes. Together they create one continuous image. Detached, they are abstract and individual, an aid that gives human shape.


The most recent work has taken a new direction, seen in a modified technique and looser representation of the body. The same images move towards greater abstraction, necessitating the interpolation of line and image. There is something natural and familiar about the expression.

Previous text from: Dadada Magazine

Alyssa Monks

Interview with Alyssa Monks


At first glance this image may look like an intimate snapshot caught by a photographer. But these touching shower scenes were not captured by a photographer, but painted by hand by a New York-based artist.

In one painting a girl peeps out from inside a steamed up shower and seems to peer into the camera lens.

And in another image a bikini-clad woman floats effortlessly underwater, showing off the engagement ring on her finger Alyssa Monks paints these images, paying meticulous attention to detail. The 31-year-old said: “I have always wanted to paint for as long as I can remember. “I took classes at school and then went to college and University before ending up at the New York Academy of Art”

“The girl in most of the pictures is myself,” she said. “I have used my own image many times because I do not have to worry about issues of self-consciousness that might arise with models…”

“…However, I have been exploring the faces of family and friends recently too, I prefer to work with people that I know personally and have a relationship with”

“The paintings are very intricate and they take a lot of work to get right. It is all about the desire to try and create an image of a person that is realer than real, beyond what even a photograph can portray”

Alyssa takes about 1,000 pictures for a small series of paintings, using the images to play with the colour and get the paintings as real as possible.

Alyssa added: “I use the photographs I take to help me compose and play with the colour, although I invent a lot of the water and steam effects from memory”.

The New York artist is in demand, currently showing at a prestigious exhibition at the National Academy Museum.

Plans are also afoot for an exhibition at the Kunst Museum Ahlen in Germany and a museum show at the Noyes Museum in New Jersey for next summer.

“I am excited for my exhibitions in the future and I am currently exploring the effect of figures pressed against glass,” she said.

Alyssa Monks paintings show that while the camera may not lie, the paintbrush sometimes does.

See more here :>>

Omar Ortiz: 1977 – Mexico Painter

Omer Ortiz: Earth angels painting

Omer Ortiz: Earth angels painting

Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in 1977, where he still resides. Arouses a great interest in drawing and illustration desdetemprana age. Studying for a degree in Graphic Design for Communication, where he learned to work with different techniques such as drawing, pastel, charcoal, watercolor, acrylic, and airbrush. After graduating in Graphic Design decided to devote himself to the world of painting. In 2002 He did his first lessons with the painter Oléo Carmen Alarcon to which he considers his principal teacher of Art. Currently paints in oils, considering the noblest art. A Hyperrealism – Minimalist predominantly white, the human figure and a magical game of fabrics, characterized his work.

Omar-Ortiz-pinturas-al-oleo-de-mujeres (5) Omar-Ortiz-01 Omar-Ortiz-13 Omar-Ortiz-12 Omar-Ortiz-11 Omar-Ortiz-10 Omar-Ortiz-09 Omar-Ortiz-08 Omar-Ortiz-07 Omar-Ortiz-06 Omar-Ortiz-05 Omar-Ortiz-03 Omar-Ortiz-02

Why is focusing its efforts on the female nuude?

Because I think the female nuude is one of the most beautiful things that exist and to some part of my work is a tribute to women. The female body provides an infinite range of expression and sensuality in which I have concentrated my work. Is a constant and exciting to find perfection in color, shape and awaken emotions in the viewer with the minimum of elements in my compositions. i hope you like these realistic paintings

What is the situation of realistic painting in Mexico?

Realistic painting in Mexico think is tilted largely toward the subject of the figurative. There is a strong tendency for magical realism. Sometimes I have to think it is a movement that was born in Mexico. In fact, I could not give an overall assessment of what is happening in Mexico right now and I’m not a painter very involved in the middle. Rather spend most of my time in my studio painting and not usually go much exposure.

The model seems to be the same Can we know who is the muse?

There are three girls that I have served as models lately: Vanessa Munguia, Jessica Munguia and Olga Kabada . , never looks at the viewer, seems shy … not necessarily shy, rather the model does not know that we are there, watching at the time of privacy. It is a moment where the audience is silent so as not to interrupt the scene.

What importance does work in large dimensions?

Lot, I think my pieces achieve more impact when the figure has a ladder or even more. Apart from that the size allows me to work better the details, I feel more freedom when painting.

If anything could criticize his work is that it seems that the issue is a repeat offender, what other theme appeals to you?

At the moment I have no interest on other issues. I feel I still have much experience is something that is a bit complicated to explain. You never know when it’s time to change, I think you can not predict, it just happens. So maybe one day without realizing it, switch and start playing with other issues, and finally this is a game that we enjoy.

What other variant sees its paint may have in the future?

Is a difficult question, maybe experiment with other textures, backgrounds, contexts, types of lighting in the scene. But what I think I will retain is the subject of the figure.

What about the various manifestations of contemporary art?

I believe that contemporary art has taken many strange ways. Some of these events meet certain aesthetic rules are what I like and especially what are some others that do not quite understand them. However, I believe that they are all valid, since they are a constant search for the man to create and express. I think everyone is free to express their ideas in the media that best suits your needs. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in 1977, where he still resides. Arouses a great interest in drawing and illustration desdetemprana age. Studying for a degree in Graphic Design for Communication, where he learned to work with different techniques such as drawing, pastel, charcoal, watercolor, acrylic, and airbrush. After graduating in Graphic Design decided to devote himself to the world of painting. In 2002 He did his first lessons with the painter Oléo Carmen Alarcon to which he considers his principal teacher of Art. Currently paints in oils, considering the noblest art.


Minimalist predominantly white, the human figure and a magical game of fabrics, characterized Omar Ortiz work.

Dusan Djukaric: 1971: Mystical Watercolour

In one of his lectures he held on February 4, 1957 at the Kolarac National University, Pedja Milosavljevic, the great expert and master of the watercolour technique, talked about “motherly Asia”. The Chinese thought that watercolour is the most valuable and the most difficult artistic technique and they had the utmost respect for it. The most famous Chinese watercolour paper is called CHEN HSIN TENG, which means “a lobby for clearing one’s mind,” and really, I do not know of a more precise definition of this painting technique. The watercolour is a way of clearing both the mind and soul. The journey towards an excellent watercolour painting is always a journey of clarification and Zen purifying from all the excess that might destroy its harmony.

Dusan DjukaricDusan Djukaric knew how to listen to the call and the messages of a civilisation that was faithful, for two thousand years, to the strong ethics and aesthetics, and knows how to transpose some of its essence into his watercolour paintings, whose realisation and ease are truly abashing. Djukaric’s respect for the material, his religious and composed relationship with the precious paper, his concentration and seriousness while working, and his sense of responsibility and tenderness for everything he touches are impressive. This master of the watercolour technique paints with a skill in an absence of skill, like Hasegawa used to say.

His paintings, with their extreme stylistic purity, give out a presentiment, an impression, the rapture, and therefore they seem immaterial. They show a way in which the colour is the emanation of the light and the depths in which the music of the art of the Far East had penetrated his Mediterranean sense. In his sunny paintings, Djukaric is a poetic and musical artist with a fine sensibility. He insists on limited colours that are almost monochromatic. He cares for the Beautiful and the Beautiful is, according to Plotinus, “the blooming of the being”. In his watercolour paintings, we find something of the Romantic conception of the Beautiful – something close to the Novalis’ idea that the world needs to be romanticised over and over again. The fact that a geographical landscape defines permanently a spiritual landscape is confirmed in these refined watercolour paintings.


A profound and sincere sympathy has created his big city scenes and Arcadian landscapes pervaded with a warm lyrical and musical spirituality. Devoted to the cult of beauty and to a festive joy of a scene, this artist, a pure lyricist, manages to keep the power of an innocent view in a demonised world. We won’t find in his paintings anything impulsive or dramatic, there is only a reserved lyric as an expression of a calm, intimate temperament. Djukaric’s landscapes are dematerialised by the musical coloristic fluids and the tender blueness. This artist knows how to bring the spirit of finesse and the lyrical detail to a conventional theme. The modulation of the object is all made of tender passages and half-tones. The musical artistic language that counts on the fluidity of the atmosphere and the tremulous volubility of the water makes all the difference in Djukaric’s art.


The wisdom of this artist lies in his ability to express himself in a rudimentary, and yet easy way (I use the word “easy” in its ritual meaning, not meritorious meaning). However, the journey toward these paintings was not at all easy – it’s a journey of clarification and Zen purification from all the excess that might damage its harmony and cohesion. Everything in these paintings has turned golden from the halo of commitment and a mysterious veil in the world of silence, dream and inebriation. The most impressive pieces in Djukaric’s opus are maybe his paintings of Venice, where the artist has showed an exquisitely refined sense for illusions of space and for the idyllic and romantic appeal of this town that, in the words of Goethe, can be compared only to itself. Djukaric is truly a master of presenting the atmosphere of Venice, with its waters sprinkled with gondolas, and the human figures in his paintings are almost silhouette-like. His watercolour paintings that present the colourful beauty of Perast are equally impressive, with their suggestive contrast between the static coast and the dynamic water.


Starting from that “accidental caprice of the unconscious hand”, and guided by the rapture in the liberty of the movement, Dusan Djukaric in his watercolour paintings (that discover in the most beautiful way the romanticist feature of his personality) finish with the fluid emanations that radiate in the direction of our hearts. So if the watercolours are the expression of the intimate conversation between the soul, the whiteness of the paper, and the fluid stains of colour, then the appeal of Djukaric’s paintings is found first in that margin of something fluctuant and barely touched, in the freshness and wholeness of the white. And there was never a great watercolour painter without the touch for the right ratio between the pigment and colour.


Djukaric has painted his restraining sensual paintings

not only with colour, but also with the spiritualisation of the physical whiteness of the watercolour paper. With the gradation of light and tone, he dissolves, peels and gives rhythm to the scenes that intrigue him and thus he opens to the spectators of a sensible spirit a special atmosphere of joyful enthusiasm. A few stains of colour and linear accents are all Djukaric needs to create a lyrical fantasy using the light and the atmosphere. And, like the ancient tractates teach, the light can shine only from the one who has the light in his soul.

There is a profoundly Mediterranean serenity in these watercolours in which we recognise a refined lyrical poet with the ability to enrich his work with a warm lyrical elevation and the Arcadian coloristic eroticism. Djukaric’s invention in watercolour painting is, therefore, substantially poetic and musical. His paintings are festivities of airy movements, they are very complex, balanced, light and alive, interspersed with nerves that show a pure artistic soul. In the poetic, silvery atmosphere and the golden shimmering of these paintings, in the mysterious grey and sonorous blue of the coloristic music, the things seem to lose their objectiveness. This artist with his aesthetically purified watercolour paintings has reached the ancient Chinese wisdom of stopping the dynamics dusan-djukaric-skc

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Paul Hedley 1947 | England

I keep painting because I can’t imagine not doing it.

Paul Hedley is a particularly skilled in depicting the female subjects.

Paul Hedley painter

His brushwork is very decisive and colourful yet the effect is full of intimacy and serenity. Equally, his chalk sketches have the same spontaneity and warm tones that make his models glow with an relaxed ease. His work has been exhibited in many major galleries, including the Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Institute of Oil Painters and New English Art Club.

Paul Hedley was born in 1947 spending his childhood in Chatham, Kent. He studied art at Medway College of Art from 1966-68, and then later at Maidstone College of Art where he was awarded the Diploma in Art and Design.

Paul Hedley has been painting ever since he can remember. An education based on traditional art techniques of drawing and painting plus the influence the French artists Edgar Degas and douard Vuillard have influenced the development of his art works.

Paul paints with compulsion, subtly influenced by his environment and daily experiences. Hedley is technically gifted as a painter and draughtsman. His paintings and drawings show a fine skill particularly in producing figurative studies of enduring compositions. He successfully captures a fleeting moment of time and the associated feeling.

Paul prefers to create his art work in natural light, using sketches and photographs. The process begins with numerous preliminary sketches which eventually leads to the application of tone and colour. His drawings are produced in a ‘classical’ manner on a toned ground in chalks often combined with watercolour and gouache.

Paul lived in France for a number of years and currently lives in the south west of England. He is married to the artist Dianne Flynn. Paul has paintings and drawings in numerous private collections and has exhibited throughout the country; he currently exhibits in London, the Cotswolds, Yorkshire and New Zealand.

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“Born in 1947, Paul Hedley was brought up in Chatham, Kent. He attended Medway College of Art from 1966-68, and Maidstone College of Art 1968-71 and was awarded the Diploma in Art and Design. He received a David Murray Landscape Scholarship in the summer of 1971, and was a prizewinner in the 1976 Camden Painting Competition.
His paintings and drawings show his incredible ability to describe figurative form in the context of good quality and exciting compositions.
His work is in the collections of the London Borough of Camden, Queen Mary College and has also been have been exhibited in many major Exhibitions and Galleries, including the Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, New English Art Club, Hampstead Artists’ Council, Bath Contemporary Arts Fair and the Rainer Joniskeit Gallery, Stuttgart.”

Robert Krogle: 1944 | American Impressionist painter

Robert Krogle, American painter, was born in Santa Monica, California. After high school Robert applied to Chouinard Art Institute of Los Angeles and was accepted but after two years was called to duty by the California Army National Guard. He spent five and a half months in Vietnam and was awarded the bronze star and purple heart for his service. Upon returning to civilian life, Robert completed his last two years of art education in 1970.


Within a year of graduation Robert was working at Rosenfeld, Palombi and Dilts, an art studio in downtown Los Angeles. He illustrated for many prestigious companies such as Microsoft, Continental Airlines and Mattel toys. In 1973 he decided to start his own studio, freelancing for the movie, recording and theme park industries. During his 31 years as a top illustrator Robert had representation in Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Atlanta and has received many awards from the Los Angeles and New York Societies of Art. He has lectured at Long Beach State University, Laguna School of Fine Art and has been a guest instructor at Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, California.


In 1992 Robert moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Within a few years of moving to Coeur d’ Alene, Robert decided to make the predictable transition from commercial art to fine art. He wanted to continue to evolve as a creative person and continue to draw inspiration from his fellow artists and his natural surroundings.


Text from: From:

Images from:

Gallery Name: Robert Krogle Fine Art
Phone: 208-667-3533

September 23, 2011

Robert Krogle – Interview with an Impressionist by 

Robert Krogle – A Contemporary Impressionist You’ll Want to Know About


“The Window Seat” , Robert Krogle, 24″ x 18″, oil

If you have never heard of contemporary impressionist oil painter Robert Krogle, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you. If you are aware of Robert Krogle and his work, please read on, as he comments on his education, his influences, and his art…

Robert Krogle – Contemporary Impressionist


“Twisted Oak at Peppertree Ranch” Robert Krogle, oil 22″ x 28″

A rich and distinctive palette, expressive brush strokes, and soft edges that show themselves and then disappear, are just the beginning of the fun when viewing a Robert Krogle painting.

I first became aware of Robert Krogle and his art at a western art show I attended several years ago. He had a booth with a few of his paintings on hand, and he was busy working on a painting. I remember thinking to myself at the time that this guy is serious about what he is doing, he is a professional, and there sure were a lot of people stopping by his booth to check out his work.

Since that time I have seen many more of his paintings, witnessed people admire and purchase them, and learned that Robert Krogle is an artist that more people should know about. You can view many more paintings by Robert Krogle, and find out what galleries he is represented by at is website,

Recently I asked Mr. Krogle if he would let me interview him for CashArtBlog, and he gracioulsy accepted. We did the Q&A through email, and here’s how it went…

 CS – On your official Robert Krogle website, you mention that you went to Chouinard Art Institute of Los Angeles. Can you talk a little about your education there, and what you wanted to accomplish professionally once you were done with college?

Robert Krogel –  ”Chouinard Art Institute (of Los Angeles – a private art school) no longer exists.  It was bought by the Disney Corporation a few years after I left in 1970 and is now known as California Institute of the Arts today.  It had a wonderful combination of commercial art and fine art curriculum.  My goal was to be a commercial artist ( which lasted 31 years), but my experience there made the transition to fine art (about 11 years ago) a very seamless one.  The school’s mission was to teach conceptual thinking along with basic creative skills.”

CS –  If I have this right, you started as an illustrator before becoming an easel painter. Can you talk about your illustration career a little bit, how long you were an illustrator, and what you liked or didn’t like about it?

Robert-Krogle__Cello recital

Robert Krogel -”After leaving Chouinard, I went to work at an art studio (most of which don’t exist today) in downtown LA.  After two years there I started freelancing with (reps – agents) in most of the larger art markets such as New York, Chicago and Denver.  I did illustrations for the movie, recording and travels industries, theme parks and major toy companies. A very rewarding career, but lacking in one thing, the human factor.  I find today, as a fine artist (oil painter), I am dealing with people more directly and getting a human response to my work as compared to working for art directors, (illustration) most of whom  I never met.”

CS –  When and why did you leave illustration to become a fine art painter?

Robert Krogle –  “I officially became an oil painter in 2000.  A combination of a shrinking commercial art market going digital at the time, versus a growing fine art market with new challenges and a chance to continue to express myself with traditional tools (paint brush and pencil) made the transition inevitable.”

CS – How would you define your painting style?

Robert Krogel –  ”I am an Impressionist – a style that resulted in researching why John Singer Sargent and Juaquin Sorolla (impressionist oil painters) have such energy and movement in their paintings as compared to realism and other forms.  I was very much the realist as a commercial artist – it was time for a change.”

CS – How has your painting style evolved over the last several years, and were any changes in your painting style deliberate, or more sub-conscious?

Robert Krogel –  ”If my painting style has changed at all it is because I have a better understanding of what I see when I paint, and most importantly, looking at familiar subject matter as a beautifully arranged collection of colored shapes.  My goal is to be better at the fundamental disciplines – drawing, composition, color harmony, values and edges – the rest will result in my painting “personality.”

CS – What do you like the most about being a painter? Robert Krogel –  ”I most enjoy the freedom to express myself with passion and make a living at it – how many people can say, “I really want to do this every day.” CS – What do you like least?

Robert Krogel – “There is absolutely nothing about the creative process that I don’t get excited about because I have complete control of that process.  What I would hope is that people (artists and collectors) would challenge themselves to discover that criteria (and it does exist) which allows them to make more informed decisions about what is masterful artwork and what lies beneath.”

CS – Can you talk about your current work and what you are doing in your studio?

Robert Krogel – “Currently I am painting for three, year-end, “small works shows” – (different galleries) and beginning to think about my submissions for the C.M. Russell Show in Great Falls, Montana – probably my most important show of the year.  My next show is the Fred Oldfield Art Show (mid-October).  I just recently returned from South Dakota, where I took about 2000 pictures of cowboy and Indian “models” in a western environment (a local ranch) for future reference in my paintings.”

CS – Who have been some of your artistic influences in your career?

Robert Krogel –  ”At the top of my list of painters who most influence me are  Sargent, Sorolla, Zorn, Richard Schmid and just about all of the new wave of Chinese artists who carry the kind of “discipline” necessary to create masterful works.”

CS – I know you show your work in galleries and you also do certain art shows through out the year.  How many art shows do you participate in any given year, and do you enjoy the traveling, meeting with people, the sales process, etc?  

Robert Krogel – “I do about five art shows a year, mostly western and wildlife shows because of their proximity to where I live in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.  Information on these can be found on my website, Although shows are very hard work, I love the “people” and “travel” aspects of them – the places I been to and people I’ve met are a large part of why I enjoy fine art so much.”

Robert Krogle, As the curtain opens

“As the Curtain Opens” Robert Krogle, oil, 20″ x 24″

CS – How many galleries currently represent your work? 

Robert Krogel – “I am currently represented in four galleries. One each in Montana, Massachusetts, Wyoming and California, which gives me an opportunity by the nature and location of the gallery, to paint many varying subjects.”

CS – Do you have any advice for young, upcoming artists?

Robert Krogel – ”My advice to young artists is to find a reputable Art School as apposed to University – they really do have the best curriculum and instructors – that is their only business.  I have heard some Universities have good art departments but you really can’t go wrong with a private Art School with a good reputation.”

“I would advise studying art history – most of the oil painters I admire are dead. But their work is very much alive – the discipline you see in “old masters” work is a lesson in itself and at the very least, super inspirational.” “Subscribe to Fine Art magazines – The National Art Review is terrific.” “Join or start a group  who have similar interests in the kind of art you want to pursue.”

LEARN TO DRAW.  It is the most valuable discipline you can learn.  Others, like color and composition are necessary but great drawing skills are the “glue” that holds the whole painting (or drawing) together.  If, (God forbid) you want eventually to go into the business of selling your work (and most artists do because they don’t want to have a real job) – try to wear only your “creative hat” or your “business hat” at one time. Your work will suffer greatly if you let a flighty, fickle, art marketplace direct you.  It’s not what you paint (in order for your work to be “saleable”), it’s how you paint it, that will make it the best it can be.  After that, decide what galleries and shows you want to pursue.   Have a sense of humor and be patient with yourself.  It takes a lifetime to develop the skills necessary to do really masterful work – unless your name is Michelangelo. (and it’s not).”

Robert Krogel, Comtemporary Impressionist – Final Thoughts I want to thank Robert Krogle for his time and thoughtful answers to my questions. If you would like more information about Robert Krogle and his impressionistic painting, please check out his website in the link at the beginning of this article, or go here for the Robert Krogle  website gallery.

I would love to hear from you about this article and the paintings by Robert Krogle…please drop me a line in the comments below, it won’t hurt! I hope the Robert Krogle paintings have inspired you…and for more inspiration of the verbal variety, here are some great quotes on drawing.


Painting big size canvas art

Its January 2013, I’m painting my big canvas.

Marta paints big black canvas

Marta paints big black canvas on February 5, 2013

Generaly there is a Duck hiding behind the tree in the painting. The tree is painted permanently over the blue duck. So it is invisible in the canvas.

The Blue Duck is gonna hide behind a tree

The Blue Duck is gonna hide behind a tree

It took two weeks to get to the final result. The painting looked more peacefull somewhere in the middle of creative process. But it seems enough … scary and breathtaking now too. Canvas fragments of painting are right here:

Painting fragment with Marta’s hand on it

Painting fragment with Marta’s hand on it

It is Dad, big eyes, hands and legs in the Painting

It is Dad, big eyes, hands and legs in the Painting

Painting got some cosmic art too

Painting got some cosmic art too

The painting process came into dramatic phase. Paint brushes become unhandy and were replaced with handy hands.

Painting: Blue Duck behind the tree, 36'' x 27'' (90 x 67.5 cm)

Painting: Blue Duck behind the tree, 36” x 27” (90 x 67.5 cm)

Marta’s Paintings

Marta’s paintings:

Acrylic painting, 50 x 50 cm,

Acrylic painting, 50 x 50 cm, “Thunder”, Marta (3 years)

Martas first acrylic painting on canvas.More about the creative process here:Acrylic painting, 50 x 50 cm, “Thunder”, Marta (3 years)

Painting: Blue Duck behind the tree, 36'' x 27'' (90 x 67.5 cm)

Painting: Blue Duck behind the tree, 36” x 27” (90 x 67.5 cm)

Generaly there is a Duck hiding behind the tree in the painting. The tree is painted permanently over the blue duck. So it is invisible in the canvas.Painting: Blue Duck behind the tree, 36” x 27” (90 x 67.5 cm)