The Art of Making Portraits

Portrait titled ‘Asher,’ by Zareena Qureshi

Human portraits are a favorite of most artists as they allow them to display their unique skills and techniques. If you ever come across a portrait in an art gallery, you can admire the detailing and intricacy that’s required for each piece. From its history to different styles, here’s everything you need to know about the art of making portraits:

A Look Back At History…

Admired in the form of sculptures during the ancient Greek and Roman times, portraits were all about ratio, perspective, and proportion. During this era, the “golden ratio” theory came about.

During the Renaissance, artists only painted portraits of the kings and queens of the time. It was during the Baroque Art Revolution that artists also started painting portraits of the public. Sculptures changed to paints in various mediums such as acrylic, oil, and watercolours.

During the nineteenth century, these portraits became abstract, and artists used sharp colours to highlight the features of their muse. Today, portraits of every form exist, from intricate sculptures to detailed paintings and sketches. There is a variety of mediums and materials used to convey the art of this form. Portraits, which were once seen as a sign of royalty, are now a common and appreciated gift for loved ones.

What Do Portraits Tell Us?

Age-old wisdom tells us that a picture speaks a thousand words, which is rightly so, especially in portraits. From the colors, medium to the posture, and pose, a portrait can speak volumes about the person’s personality. Look for things like their facial expression; do they look happy, peaceful, angry, or gloomy? This can help you analyse their current mood or the situation they were currently in. 

Next, examine their clothing. Are they wearing fancy clothes like a gown or traditional dresses? This will give you an insight into the fashion of the era. Lastly, pay attention to the setting and the objects around the person. Are they sitting on a velvet sofa with chandeliers in the background or on a straw chair outdoors? Try to combine all three elements when analysing a portrait to reveal the hidden story and meaning behind the artwork.

Titled ‘cry me a river,’ this painting depicts a gloomy and sad person.

What Are The Different Types of Portraits?

Realistic Vs. Expressionism

You’ll come across some paintings that depict the person in their trustiest sense, while others use expressionism to highlight different societal issues or personal problems. One famous example is “The Scream” by Edward Munch, in which he used this style to express a moment existential crisis.

Various Skin Colors

Some artists use colors that nearly match the person’s skin tone, while others use unconventional color schemes to convey emotion and a story.

Different Settings

Some portraits might just be a full face and glimpse of the shoulder area, while others may feature different objects to provide a visual clue about the person. The face will still be the focal point, but the side objects add an exciting dimension to the artwork. Portraits are an excellent choice for home or office decor.

If you’re looking for some stunning paintings, look no further than Zareena Qureshi’s fine art painting gallery. We have a massive collection of tempera paintings online, affordable watercolour paintings, tribal paintings, abstract paintings, bird paintings, floral paintings, scenery, and oil painting on canvas. Zareena Qureshi is also a finalist in the 27th Belmont & Western Australian Small Business Awards! Reachout to us or order today!

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