Portrait Paintings

Portrait painting is a genre of art that focuses on representing a particular person. Portraiture is a timeless artistic practice, dating back to before ancient Egypt. Initially used to record the appearance of stately and regal figures, portraiture was typically employed to indicate wealth, power and status.…

Historically, portrait paintings would exaggerate and alter features of the subject in efforts to flatter and elevate the sitter. For the most part, the composition of portraits in painting, drawing and sculpture has remained the same up until the twentieth century. Sitter’s would be portrayed looking out at the viewer, and primarily each piece would take the form of a bust portrait. However, the twentieth century came the unravelling of portraiture and the conventions of portraiture. For one, the invention of photography meant that painting was no longer the prominent medium for recording portraits, and photography brought portraiture forward as a more accessible and affordable product. Up to this point, portrait paintings had always been commissioned to serve for purpose and prestige. Yet, portraits were no longer reserved for the most exclusive of subjects, and twentieth-century artists began to paint lovers, friends and familiar faces, thus opening portraiture up as a more accessible genre in art.

Rise Art’s vast and exciting collection of portrait paintings range from the real to the whimsical, from expressive self-portraits to mesmerising photo-real portraits. Our curatorial experts have hand-picked paintings from emerging and mid-career artists across the globe to help you find the perfect portrait painting to purchase. Browse through hundreds of portrait paintings on our online gallery, and start discovering new art today.

If it’s a vibrant and textured oil painting you’re after, take a look at the work of Stella Kapezanou. Kapezanou’s colourful contemporary portraits depict a strong sense of movement, atmosphere and expression. Through her saturated use of colour and the un-posed disposition of each character, Kapezanou’s paintings capture snapshots of time, bursting with life and personality.

Paul Bennett’s style combines highly detailed features with an unfinished quality to create beautiful and evocative portrait paintings. The contrast of high and low detail results in strikingly nostalgic paintings. Each of Bennett’s subjects holds a unique expression that confronts the viewer, and with paintings such as More than Words and Nocturnal Dreams, Bennett encourages interaction with the compelling portrait.

Ta Thimkaeo’s exciting and humorous paintings play with the conventions of portraiture. Whether distorting the subject completely or adding a fried egg on the face of a figure, Thimkaeo’s approach is undeniably original. With Egg boy the opera singer Thimkaeo uses the traditional composition of a portrait, and paints in muted colours, however, she adds a highly realistic egg onto the subject’s face to undermine the serious nature of the painting’s subject and genre.

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