Portrait – an image of a person or a group of several people, conveying the external similarity and characteristics of the portrayed. As a rule, these drawings are performed in detail and reliably. There are certain styles specific to the portrait genre. The most famous portrait painters, whose names everyone should recognize, were able to convey through their works not only the characteristic features of people of different nations who lived at different times, but also something more.
Authors of portraits can paint models from life, or can rely on their own memories and create a portrait from them. A good portrait requires more than just photographic precision. The artist conveys the character of his model, its recognizable and typical features.
Characters, hidden passions and even situations in the country were conveyed at the time when the artists themselves were creating. That is why their works are so interesting today: the paintings do not depict specific people of no interest to anyone, but heroes of their era who changed history or kept traditions. The portrait shows the personal attitude of the author to the character depicted from the picture. This interpretation is especially appreciated by the audience, because it is exclusive, it may not be available to everyone, which means it is elitist.
10. Anthony Van Dyck
Master Anthony Van Dyck is from Belgium. He worked in the genre of painting and graphics, was a famous court portrait painter, wrote religious subjects.
It is known that he showed talent early. Already at 14, Anthony Van Dyck painted a self-portrait according to all the canons of that time. From the age of 18 he became a member of the Guild of St. Luke. This organization could have included printers, painters and sculptors.
By his twentieth birthday, Van Dyck attracted the attention of aristocratic customers, the portraits he created stood out for their rare skill. As a rule, portrait painters achieved mastery with age, so the gifted young man instantly became famous. Is it surprising if Rubens himself was his teacher?
A feature of Van Dyck’s portraits is his hands. He carefully and thoroughly prescribed long fingers, the beauty of the hands and graceful relaxation. The manner in which the hands are depicted makes Van Dyck’s work recognizable.
The portrait painter Anthony Van Dyck managed to live in Italy, in addition, he became an English court painter and completed the paintings of his great, early departed teacher.
Examples of the most famous works: “Heads of an Elder”, “Portrait of Charles the First on the Hunt”, “Family Portrait”, “Portrait of Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio”.
9. Hans Holbein
Hans Holbein is one of the greatest artists in Germany. He studied artistic skills from his own father, whom he surpassed in skill. Hans became famous at the age of twenty, when he became the court painter of Henry VIII. At 21, he finds himself in the Basel Guild of Painters, meets Erasmus of Rotterdam and Thomas More.
Holbein’s works are incredibly accurate, he meticulously conveyed the appearance of his models, and found ways to show their characters. The artist felt great light and used chiaroscuro to draw attention to small details. It is this highlighting of the little things with light that betrays the typical Holbein style.
Hans Holbein did not hide his real attitude to models: irony and sometimes sarcasm are read in the portraits. It is known that he never painted portraits at once, he needed time to communicate with the client, to observe him in different situations. After such a period, the character’s inner world was transmitted very vividly.
Portraits: “Thomas More”, “Henry VIII”, “Erasmus of Rotterdam”.
8. Diego Velazquez
The Spaniard, court painter of Philip the Fourth, Diego Velazquez first took a brush in his hand at the age of 10. By the age of eighteen, he opened his own workshop, the teacher Francisco Pacheco was able to help a gifted student.
At first, Velazquez did not seek to portray people, dispensing with still lifes and everyday pictures. But even then he was distinguished by his work with color, his shadows were full of color transitions, colors were bright and complex.
Later portraits were also distinguished by these features, in addition, contrasts and sharp chiaroscuro, expressive poses of models, naturalness and psychologism are noted.
After moving to the capital and success at the court, the famous artist Diego Velazquez was inundated with orders for ceremonial portraits. But he was more interested in ordinary people. He managed to write the most simple and humiliated: jesters, freaks, dwarfs.
Titian had a huge influence on the development of Velazquez, it was his works that were an example and model for the young Diego.
Famous portraits: “Meninas”, “Spinners, Breakfast”, “Lady with a Fan”, “Infanta Margarita”, “Innkeeper”, “The Old Cook”, “Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain in Armor”, “Jester Juan of Austria”.
7. Ilya Repin
Ilya Repin is the greatest artist of Russia, who became a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts. Professor and teacher, he developed the style of Russian realism.
The young artist lived in poverty a lot, tried to make money with his own paintings. Repin’s first teacher was a master of icon painting. Thanks to his first jobs, he saved up money to study in St. Petersburg.
Life began to take shape when Repin managed to prove himself at the Academy of Arts. The talented young man got the opportunity to go to Europe, study the achievements of Western masters. By this time, he had become famous enough to receive decent orders and improve his position.
Repin’s work is distinguished by psychological accuracy, he was interested in people’s emotions, reflected disturbing tendencies in society. Not surprisingly, he was close friends with Leo Tolstoy, talked with Chaliapin and Bekhterev, Brodsky and even Chukovsky.
Portraits: “Mussorgsky”, “Leo Tolstoy”, “Mother”, “Konstantin Pobedonostsev”.
6. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
Dutchman Rembrandt was considered a master of chiaroscuro, his lighting schemes are still guided by artists and photographers. He was considered the largest among the Dutch painters of the golden age.
Rembrandt was distinguished by his ability to convey the feelings and experiences of his characters. He did not chase after details, on the contrary, he hid everything secondary in the shadows, making efforts to convey the model’s internal experiences.
The master began to draw from the age of thirteen, he tried all available genres up to landscapes. His works are the creativity of a humanist, a constant creative flight and a test of a variety of artistic means.
Portraits: “Young Saskia”, “Flora”, “Yana Utenbogart”, “Maria Trip”.
5. Peter Paul Rubens
Peter Paul Rubens was an outstanding Flemish, distinguished by versatile interests, was a diplomat, and was a collector. He comes from a poor family, but received a good education at home. Over time, he was added to the pages, but at thirteen he took up his brush.
Rubens studied for a long time, took a trip to Italy and found work there at the court of the Duke of Gonzaga. He became a court painter and worked on the collections kept in the castle, studied Italian art throughout the country. Returning to his homeland, Rubens becomes the court artist of the Archduke, teaches a lot, barely copes with the flow of orders.
For him, the postures of models and gestures are important, the ability to convey the beauty of their sensual bodies. He wrote a hymn to femininity, detailing the twists and turns. Rubens was ready to work around the clock, while communicating with everyone who was in the workshop.
Portraits: “The Marquise Brigitte Spinola Doria”, “The Maid of the Infanta Isabella”, “Elena Fourman with two children.”
4. Albrecht Durer
Albrecht Durer was a painter, graphic artist, represented the Western European Renaissance. The descendants remained not only canvases, but also engravings, and even treatises written by him. Dürer improved woodcuts, studied a lot in Italy, but was able to combine the traditions of Italian masters with the traditions of northern Europeans.
Albrecht Durer was distinguished by precision and detailing. His compositional solutions stood out for their novelty. He attached great importance to proportions, thoroughly traced the hands. I chose bright colors for my works. He strove to understand the laws of nature, tried to achieve harmony in images. He left a lot of self-portraits, especially at a young age.
Portraits: “Erasmus of Rotterdam”, “Bernard von Riesen”, “Emperor Maximilian I”.
Titian Vecelio is the most famous Italian painter. Creativity evokes thoughts of immortality and eternity. He was so talented that even during Titian’s life was considered a magician, and his brushes were magic.
Titian’s portraits were incredibly accurate, so they suspected that the souls of those depicted were moving into the paintings. Titian was interested in mythological stories and religious meanings.
The peculiarity of his work is the accurate transfer of shades, the ability to convey the state of mind, unsurpassed psychological depth in portraits. He was the first to use a dynamic diagonal composition.
Titian lived for a long time and achieved incredible skill: no one managed to create high-quality copies of his work.
Portraits: “Petro Aretino”, “Charles the Fifth”, “Portrait of a Young Woman”
2. Raphael Santi
Rafael Santi is a wonderful Italian, was a painter, graphic artist, studied architecture. He sang the ideals of the Renaissance in his works. Hailing from the artist’s family, since childhood, he moved in an artistic environment, had the opportunity to communicate and learn.
Raphael was fascinated by the image of the Madonna and wrote her repeatedly, as his father constantly painted Madonna, using his wife and son as models. It is believed that only for this reason the mother herself breast-fed the child. Therefore, Raphael differed from his peers in his harmonious character and faith in himself.
Portraits of Madonna Conestabile, Sistine and a number of others after the brush of Raphael became a completely new word in art.
The master died very early, but managed to set a new direction for all kinds of shades of emotions. Rafael Santi was interested in humanistic ideas, the world of his brush was beautiful, and people were filled with harmony of body and spirit.
Portraits: “Donna Velata”, “Julia II”, “Pope Leo the Tenth with two cardinals”, “Castiglione”.
1. Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci is a versatile man, he was an artist, author of sculptures, a scientist, an inventor ahead of his time. He was able to skillfully find patrons among the highest nobility, offering them assistance with technical inventions of a defense and military nature. Therefore, I was engaged in research and development, without being distracted by looking for money.
His artistic portraits were a hundred years ahead of their era, in his time they simply did not realize that it was possible to depict a person full of life, sensual and emotional, realistic and accurate. Leonardo Da Vinci knew how to choose harmonious colors, psychologically accurately write out a pose.
Da Vinci’s clever use of light and his understanding of perspective is used in the training of photographers: he, too, sought to capture reality.
Famous portraits: “Mona Lisa”, “Lady with an Ermine”, “Portrait of Ginerva de Benchi”, “Portrait of a Musician”.