Lesson 1 - Portrait Painting

Portrait painting is the first section of portraiture we will be looking at. Portrait painting is one of the main genres in painting. There are many subjects for a portrait, Humans, animals, pets and stationary objects, any of these can be chosen by the painter to paint.

History of Portrait Painting

The rich and the powerful were primarily memorialized by portrait paintings. However, as the years have passed on, it has become common for middle-class people to commission portraits of their loved ones and colleagues. Nowadays, the portrait painting is still commissioned by governments, corporations, groups, sporting clubs and even individuals.


Portraiture’s roots are likely found in prehistoric times, although few of the works still survive today. In ancient civilizations of the art, the Fertile Crescent, especially in Egypt, depictions of rules 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 was 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 non survive from that age. Existing Chinese portrait go back to about 1000 AD.


Roman-Egyptian funeral portrait of a woman


The ancient Greeks also included portraiture, the portraits were 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.

Technique and Practice

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... “The only expression allowable in great portraiture is the expression of character and moral quality, not anything temporary, fleeting or accidental”.


Portrait painting can depict the subject “full length”, “half length”, head and shoulders” (this can be also called a “bust"), or “head”, as well as in profile, “three-quarter view”, or “full face”, with different directions of light and shadow. Artists occasionally have created portraits with multiple views, as with Anthony van Dyck’s “Triple Portrait of Charles I”.


Anthony van Dyck, Triple portrait of King Charles, 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.

There are a few portraits where the front of the subject is not visible at all. Andrew Wyeth’s Christina's World is one of the most famous examples of the subject not being visible. The image is of a crippled girl with her back turned to the viewer integrates with the setting in which she is placed to convey the artist’s interpretation.

The image is of a crippled girl with her back turned to the viewer

Lesson 1 - Task 1

Fill in the missing words in this section

Portrait

painting is the first section of we will be looking at. Portrait painting is one of the main genres in painting. There are many for a portrait, , , and objects, any of these can be chosen by the painter to paint.

History of Portrait Painting

The and the were primarily memorialized by portrait paintings. However, as the years have passed on, it has become common for middle-class people to commission portraits of their loved ones and colleagues. Nowadays, the is still commissioned by , , , sporting clubs and even individuals.


Portraiture’s are likely found in prehistoric times, although few of the works still survive today. In ancient civilizations of the art, the Fertile Crescent, especially in , depictions of rules and gods abound. However, most of these were done in a highly stylized fashion, and most in profile, usually on , , , , or . Egyptian portraiture was 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 non survive from that age. Existing Chinese portrait go back to about 1000 AD.


Roman-Egyptian funeral portrait of a woman


The ancient also included portraiture, the portraits were often highly accurate if the praises of writers are to be believed, but no painted examples remain. Sculpted heads of rulers and personalities like survive in some quantity, and like the individualized busts of rulers on coins, show that greek portraiture could achieve a good likeness, and subjects were depicted with relatively little flattery.

Technique and Practice

As Aristotle stated, “The 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... “The only expression allowable in great is the expression of character and moral quality, not anything temporary, fleeting or accidental”.


Portrait painting can depict the subject “ length”, “ length”, head and ” (this can be also called a “"), or “head”, as well as in profile, “-quarter view”, or “full ”, with different directions of light and shadow. Artists occasionally have created portraits with multiple views, as with Anthony van Dyck’s “ Portrait of Charles I”.


Anthony van Dyck, Triple portrait of King Charles, 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.


There are a few portraits where the front of the subject is not visible at all. Wyeth’s Christina's World is one of the most famous examples of the subject not being visible. The image is of a girl with her back turned to the viewer integrates with the setting in which she is placed to convey the artist’s interpretation.

The image is of a crippled girl with her back turned to the viewer

 

Lesson 1 - Task 2

You are to paint either a "full length", "half length", "head and shoulders" (remembering this is also called a "bust") or “head”, as well as in profile, “three-quarter view”, or “full face”, with different directions of light and shadow.


Your subject that you decided to paint can either be a Human, animal, pet or a stationary object.