Portraits in art

Portraits have been used throughout history to depict the visual and personal characteristics of an individual.  Artists can use portraits to show off the power of confidence of the subject.  Portraits can be used to reveal events of the time while also depicting the feelings of the artist or patron. Portraits have the importance of conveying specific moments in time.

Marcus Aurelius' gesture shows his authority over the people. He has control over the wild horse; him being larger than it shows his mastery. This portrait is used to convey power.
This piece depicts the patrons of the work in the left panel. The donors wanted this to show that they are worthy enough to watch the special annunciation scene.
This portrait of an unknown lady reveals her reserved individual character through her lowered eyes, tightly locked thin fingers, and fragile physique. Her dress shows her noble power.
This portrait of French ambassadors alludes to the growing tension between secular and religious authorities. The artist used the portrait to show his detailing and still-life skills.
This self-portrait shows the self confidence and security of the artist. Through turning affably, leaning on her chair, and smiling, Leyster shows her comfortability.
The king used his portrait to appears as a military leader through his elegant dress and baton of command.The portrait "ennobles" the monarch while making him appear more commanding and authoritative.
Rembrandt used self-portraits to capture various states of mind. He wanted to use portraits to reveal his psychological tension.
Uses the power of the portrait to convey his power. He looks down on the viewer while dressed in imperial clothing like his coronation robes, crown at his side, and a sword as a phallic symbol.
The queen of France uses the portrait to counteract her image as an immoral woman for a more motherly figure.She has children gathered around her with the empty cradle representing her deceased child.
Portait used to heighten the reputation of Marat. His cancer effects on his skin are not shown. His arms are in the position of Christ's in the Descent from the Cross to elevate Marat's life.
Goya depicts himself slumped while creatures converge on him. He uses the portrait to show what happens when reason is suppressed and to embrace the creative process.
Portrait reveals the interests of the patron and artist. The artist is present. Instead of the pope crowing Napoleon, he crowns himself to reveal his power.It shows the classical to link to the ideal.
This portrait of a prostitute depicts her in control of her body shown by the placement of her hand. Her look of cool indifference shows her confidence.
This portrait of a migrant mother depicts the struggle during the Great Depression. The portrait emphasizes hopelessness and resilience through the expression of the mother.
Sherman's self-portraits take control of her own image and constructs her own identity. She chooses to assume her own identity in her portraits, rather than films.