Portraits – Guide for Behinners

Portraits guide for beginners

Have you ever noticed how many gorgeous portraits have been made in the history of art? Well, until then, artists have remained committed to growing a promising piece of art. They continue to create outstanding works of art, displaying the prevailing stylistic trends of all time, with different portraits.

In this generation, we often capture portraits in the field of photography but in collaboration with https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/ I`d like to tell you more about it.

A portrait is a kind of fine art dedicated to the image of a certain person or group of people. It can be a photograph, painting, drawing or sculpture. This work of art can be mostly seen in art galleries, museums and even in our homes.


What theme could a portrait painting have?

A portrait painting may have the universal theme of a classic portrait that shows the life of a person. It shows an external appearance and tells the inner story of the subject person. A classic portrait includes depicting individuals who departed in the sense of visualization.

Pair Portrait is composed of two persons while Group Portrait includes several people but, regardless of how many subjects or individuals a portrait may have, each individual portrays their respective characters.

In creating portraits, you have the option to have two or more themes that would represent the subject’s life.

Whenever an image in the portrait loses its independence, it goes beyond the genre. An example of it is when the main theme is an event, we may think that it’s not a portrait but a picture rather. Yet, this can still be as they can be in a portrait manner.


Portrait subject

In addition to the theme, the portrait has a universal plot. Thanks to those subjects whom we want to characterize the portrait and understand its profound intent.

In a moment of contemplation, we usually get to forget the things around us. This is the time where we look into another world and started to think of random thoughts that are running out of our heads. In a scenario like this, we can take a portrait of someone who is doing so and try to understand his thoughts at that very moment.

 A portrait can be characterized in an animated way of representation. An example is a portrait of a man who seemed to be freezing and is quiet. In further observation of his portrait, you’ll get to see that he might be in an eloquent silence but if you look in-depth of it, you may think of what’s behind its silence and started to ponder that it could be a wave of anger, rage, violence, fun that is contraindicated on his portrait.

When we examine a portrait, we get to envision things like the subject’s social status, nationality, age, religion, moral signs, characteristics and moreover.

A drawing of a person’s face in a portrait is the most difficult direction in the visual arts. The artist must discover the main accents of the personality, emphasize the characteristic features, emotionality of an individual and reveal the expressive nature of the person that is being portrayed. Depending on the size of the picture, a portrait can be in any different length like from head to the chest or waist kind of length.

Portrait covers from the face, a three-quarter turn to either side and in profile. A creative portrait is an artistic painting – a special genre of painting related to the creation of something new in the image of a human person.


The basics of portraiture

The main and iconic feature in the portrait is the face of a person, portrait painters work on it most of the time and try to convey the similarity of the character through selecting the accurate color shades of the hair, skin tone and moreover.

The main thing here is the expression of the eyes, the mirror of the human soul in the portrait. The gaze is directed into the distance and can go deep into the soul as it passes through the viewer.


Facial expressions

Gestures and facial expressions related to a particular character are important. The artist finds features of greater vitality, genuineness in the representation of the face.

The remaining details of the drawing, whether it would have a clothing background, the illustration on the canvas details of certain surroundings are considered as more conditional since the similarity of a real person does not depend on this.

Portraits guide for beginners

If you look at the entire gallery of artists who created Dutch painting during the Golden Age, then a huge number of joking paintings, portraits, sketches depicting laughing and rejoicing people are approximately obvious.

Ladies and gentlemen, military arrows and children, burghers and common people, they all smile at each other or look at the viewer. They laugh at a funny joke, make fun of a clumsy reveler, have fun at fairs.

And among several magnificent Dutch, Frans Hals stands out. His ability to instantly grasp the essence of his character, energy, and facial expressions is perfectly represented in the film “Laughing Chevalier”.

At first glance, of course, the costume of this dandy splendidly painted by the author attracts attention. The folds and creases of a snow-white collar, delicate cuffs, a camisole brightly embroidered with colored threads, and the soft sheen of a black cape amaze with its naturalness and splendor.

 But one may ask, “Where is the laugh?” After all, the lips of a young man are compressed, the hand is importantly supporting the side and the whole posture and the most beautiful camisole suggests that a solemn portrait was being prepared.

The author suggests taking a closer look at the face of a gallant gentleman. First of all, in his slightly narrowed, with a sort of cunning, look directed at the viewer.

It seems that even a second and his tightly pressed lips will blur in a sly smile, and his eyes will wink mockingly. A dashingly shifted hat and a mustache raised to complement the overall impression of a man – a young, self-confident, but certainly perky, with a faintly restrained laugh in his mischievous and happy eyes.

The great Frans Hals knows how to convey laughter, this elusive emotion, without unnecessary additions to the canvas – he only needs a brush and a character who was able to captivate and infect the author with his energy.



The similarity with the displayed object and the model in a portrait occupies the main and dominant role.

The similarity is the likeness but not identity. Deviation from identity within the boundaries of similarity is not only permissible but necessary for portraiture purposes.

The portrait not only depicts the individuality of a person but also expresses the individuality of the artistic personality of the author.

A self-portrait is a portrayal of an artist that is photographed, drawn or painted by that artist. The artist gets used to the look of the model and conveys through the image in the portrait and a certain part of himself. This is a combination of two personalities – the model and the author. A self-portrait is produced with the amalgamation of the artist and his role.

The portrait is always similar to the author however, he is somewhat different from the model. Recognizing their similarity and dissimilarity is indispensable in portraiture.


Portrait genres

Typically, portraits are divided into a chamber, intimate ceremonial portrait, as well as self-portraits, where artists usually portray themselves. The portrait genre in fine art is a natural independent painting genre that does not need concrete substantiation.

Sub Genres of portraiture

The boundaries of the portrait genre reflect various directions interconnected with elements of other genres. For example, a historical portrait depicts a man in clothes of past centuries and is created by imagination and by available materials as well as memories of that time.

Painting portrait – the character is presented by nature, architecture with a plot in the world of things and household items.

The costume portrait depicts a character in historical theatrical costumes that are beautiful to perceive and with various attributes related to the plot.


Portrait Styles

Portraits come in different styles and techniques. The most distinguished style that has so many techniques of execution in painting a portrait on canvas with oil. This is a very long and laborious process that requires a lot of patience and meticulousness. This style comes from different centuries and has earned great fame all over the world.

Every so often, artists draw sketches or quick portraits with charcoal, sepia, sanguine. They also draw portraits in pencil, pastel, and watercolor although these are undoubtedly first-class styles for portraits and are time-consuming, it usually earns special attention.

The dry brush portrait style is also gaining momentum in popularity and the history of this trend goes to the middle of the last century. Soviet artists have been massively engaged in this and they painted not on paper, but on cotton fabric material. These portraits are in large formats and are usually three meters high. They are typically exhibited outdoors in spacious rooms, clubs, and sometimes as a movie poster.

A pictorial style of portrait emphasizes the novelty of the picture. It is inspired by the natural position of the subject with the light and its surroundings.

An artist who knows a form of painting style using painting tools creates a lively artistic image and captures every moment with their creativity.

Every person is inimitable, the genre encompasses different styles and portraits capture people and personality naturally.