Portraits capture people as individuals, in their own time. Before the invention of photography, people were immortalised in portraits by painting. The style of each portrait depends on the era, artist and purpose of the portrait. The painting can be classical, realistic or something else. The composition of the painting, the person’s position, expression and gaze as well as colours and clothing can be used to communicate different things. The portrait tells a story about the model and the painter.

In addition to portraying the individual, portraits provide a lot of information about the culture, society and values of their time. The portrait captured the appearance and character of a person and often also their social status. Artists had their own styles, but often the picture also shows the beauty ideals of the time and the general ways of depicting the subject. Portraits painted at a certain time are often very similar to each other.

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