Discover our selection of portraiture for sale and available to rent online. Shop portraiture today and explore realistic portraiture, abstract portraiture and minimalist portraiture. Browse the collection of portrait art by international contemporary artists to see how one of the oldest artforms is interpreted within a modern environment.
A self-portrait refers to an image created by an individual of themselves. Many artists use self-portraits to create abstract or symbolic depictions of themselves. Female artists such as Frida Kahlo and Jenny Saville have been prominent producers of self-portraits, using them as a way to reclaim ownership of the female body and its sexuality from traditional patriarchal ideas. Van Gogh used self-portraits to develop his painting techniques and skills, claiming that, if he could manage to create the colour of his own head, then he would able to paint anyone else.
Philip Tyler uses self-portraits to explore the public and private versions of himself. Big Head Strikes Again depicts Philip’s portrayal of himself from below, using patches of colour and defined brushwork to create a sense of immediacy.
Historical portraiture refers to artworks that have been commissioned by individuals wanting to present a particular identity and consolidate their power, wealth and status through an artistic representation. Throughout history, monarchs and leaders have commissioned artists such as Francisco Goya and Hans Holbein to capture their place in history. This form of historical portraiture has continued for centuries, with modern artists such as Andy Warhol producing a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (1985). Through his distinct silkscreen print style, Warhol considered ideas of portraiture, consumerism and social hierarchy by presenting Her Majesty as a powerful iconic figure through his use of bold colours and repetition. In recent decades, historical portraiture has evolved from representing historical figures to representing the social history of ordinary people. Contemporary British artist Georgia Peskett paints singular figures in urban landscapes, such as Stop (2018). We love how Georgia has used line and colour to capture such a fleeting moment of modern life.
Celebrity portraiture can be seen as an extension of historical portraiture. With the development of the media industry, celebrity figures, such as actors, models, musicians and sports players, increased with popularity. Photographers such as Cecil Beaton and David Bailey were among the first to engage with using portraiture photography to capture celebrity figures. In recent years, contemporary artists have used celebrity portraiture to further experiment with portraiture styles by incorporating photography, painting and drawing into their work. Martin Thompson is a British photographer who creates multi-media portraits of public figures such as Boy George, Frank Turner and Rita Ora. Thompson’s technique of overlaying photography with different drawings and paintwork allows him to add many layers of depth to his artwork.
Portraiture of religious figures is viewed as one of the oldest forms of portraiture, dating back to the Ancient Greek sculptures of deities. During the Renaissance, figures such as Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary were presented in fresco murals, sculptures and paintings. Whist many religious portraits are not of a single figure, an artist’s ability to create personable forms such as Jesus Christ in Leonardo da Vinci’s mural painting The Last Supper (c. 1490) enables such work to be classified as portraiture. It is worth noting that portraiture in religious paintings is used to aid the religious narrative or meaning of the piece by creating visual human forms of religious figures.
Nude portraiture has been a key form of portraiture since the creation of nude sculptures in Ancient Greece. The Nude refers to the representation of a person in the naked form and has been a subject to experiment and developed by artists across history. During the Renaissance, artists such as Titian focused on painting nude portraiture to capture the personal form, sensuality and erotica of Greek goddesses. In recent decades, artists, such as Lucien Freud, have represented nude portraiture in strikingly realistic paintings to transgress against idealisations of the body.