Greatest Portrait Paintings (2023)

19th Century Portraits

Frederic Bazille (1841-70)
The Family Reunion (1867) Musee d'Orsay.

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
Man Smoking a Pipe (1890-2) Hermitage, St Petersburg.
Woman with a Coffee Pot (1890-5) Musee d'Orsay.
The Boy in the Red Vest (1894-5) EG Buhrle Collection, Zurich.
Lady in Blue (c.1900) Hermitage, St Petersburg.
Young Italian Woman Leaning on her Elbow (1900) J. Paul Getty Museum.
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1899) Musee des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.
NOTE: For later works by Cezanne, see 20th Century Portraits, below.

William Merritt Chase (1849-1916)
Portrait of a Woman (1885) Private Collection.
See also: American Impressionist Painting.

Theodore Chasseriau (1819-56)
The Two Sisters (1843) Louvre, Paris.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875)
Woman with a Pearl (c.1870) Louvre, Paris.
Woman in Blue (1874) Louvre, Paris.

Gustave Courbet (1819-77)
Self-Portrait (Man with a pipe) (1849) Musee Fabre, Montpelier.
See also: Realist Painting (19th Century).

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
The Bellelli Family (1858-67) Musee d'Orsay, Paris.
Portraits at the Bourse (1878-9) Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)
The Gross Clinic (1875) University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Girl with a Fan (1902) Folkwang Museum, Hessen.

Theodore Gericault (1791-1824)
The Mad Woman (1822) Musee des Beaux-arts, Lyon.
The Kleptomaniac (1823) Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Self-Portrait with Straw Hat (1887) Detroit Institute of Arts.
Portrait of Pere Tanguy (1887) Stavros S. Niarchos Collection.
Self-Portrait with Felt Hat (1888) Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889) Courtauld Institute Galleries, London.
Portrait of Madame Roulin (1889) Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo.
Self-Portrait (Blue) Saint-Remy (1889) Musee d'Orsay.
Portrait of Dr. Gachet Seated at a Table (1890) Private Collection.
See also: Self Portraits (1400 BCE-present).

Francisco Goya (1746-1828)
Portrait of Charles IV and His Family (1800) Prado, Madrid.

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Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)
Mademoiselle Caroline Riviere (1806) Louvre, Paris.
Portrait of Monsieur Bertin (1832) Louvre.
Comtesse d'Haussonville (1845) Frick Collection.
Portrait of Madame Moitessier (1856) National Gallery, London.
See also: Academic Art.

Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921)
I Lock My Door Upon Myself (1891) Neue Pinakothek, Munich.

Ivan Kramskoy (1837-1887)
Portrait of a Young Woman (1882) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

John Lavery (1856-1941)
Portrait of Lady Evelyn Farquhar (1912) Private Collection.
See also: Irish Portrait Artists.

Edouard Manet (1832-83)
Olympia (1863) Musee d'Orsay.
Portrait of Emile Zola (1868) Musee d'Orsay.
Portrait of Berthe Morisot with bouquet of violets (1872) Musee d'Orsay.

Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907)
The Old Farmer (1903) Kunsthalle, Hamburg.
See also: German Art (19th Century).

Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Madame Monet on the Sofa (1871) Musee d'Orsay.
The Red Kerchief, Portrait of Madame Monet (1873) Cleveland Museum of Art.
See also: Characteristics of Impressionist Painting (from 1870).

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Young Boy with a Cat (1868) Musee d'Orsay, Paris.
Portrait of Madame Charpentier & Children (1879) Metropolitan Museum, NY.
See also: Impressionist Portraits.

Ilya Repin (1844-1930)
Portrait of Anton Rubinstein (1881) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82)
Beata Beatrix (1864-70) Tate Gallery.
Proserpine (1882) Birmingham Museum of Art.
See also: Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (c.1850).

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
Head of a Capri Girl (1878) Private Collection.
The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882) Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Portrait of Madame X (1884) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Isabella Stewart Gardner (1888) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.
See also: Portraits: Nineteenth Century.

Valentin Serov (1865-1911)
Girl with Peaches (1887) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Portrait of Olga Serova (1890) Russian Museum, St Petersburg.
Portrait of Isaac Levitan (1893) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
See also: Russian Painting (19th Century).

Alfred Stevens (1817-75)
Portrait of Mrs. Collman (1865) National Portrait Gallery, London.

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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
Portrait of Yvette Guilbert (1894) Musee d'Orsay.
See also: Post-Impressionist Painting (c.1880-1895).

Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)
The Seated Demon (1890) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Girl against a Persian Carpet (1886) Museum of Russian Art, Moscow.

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
Lady of Shalott (1888) Tate Collection, London.

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Arrangement in Grey & Black: The Artist's Mother (1871) Musee d'Orsay.
Symphony in White: No 1: The White Girl (undated) NGA, Washington DC.

David Wilkie (1785-1841)
Self-Portrait (1804) National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.

For an explanation of portraiture produced by 19th century or 20th century artists, see: Analysis of Modern Paintings (1800-2000).

20th Century Portraits

Francis Bacon (1909-92)
Portrait of George Dyer Talking (1966) Private Collection.
Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) Private Collection.
Three Studies for a Self-Portrait (1979-80) Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards (1984) Private Collection.
See also: Contemporary British Painting (1960-2000).

Max Beckmann (1884-1950)
Self-Portrait in a Tuxedo (1927) Harvard Museum.
Self-Portrait in Olive and Brown (1945) Detroit Institute of Arts.

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
Lady in Blue (1900) Hermitage, St Petersburg.
Young Italian Woman Leaning on her Elbow (1900) J.Paul Getty Museum.
NOTE: For earlier works by Cezanne, see 19th Century Portraits, above.

Chuck Close (b.1940)
Self-Portrait (1997) Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Alex Colville (1920-2013)
The Swimming Race (1959) National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa.

Andre Derain (1880-1954)
Self-Portrait in a Floppy Hat (1905) Private Collection.

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Otto Dix (1891-1969)
Portrait of the Journalist Silvia von Harden (1926) Musee Moderne Paris.
See also: Portrait Artists: Twentieth Century.

Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
Woman in Black Hat (1908) Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
Le Coquelicot (The Corn Poppy) (1919) Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, Albi.

Lucian Freud (b.1922)
Interior at Paddington (1951) Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
Girl with a White Dog (1952) Tate Gallery, London.
The Painter's Mother (1984) Private Collection.
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (Portrait of Sue Tilley) (1995) Private Collection.

Juan Gris (1887-1927)
Portrait of Pablo Picasso (1912) Art Institute of Chicago.

David Hockney (b.1937)
Mr and Mrs Clarke and Percy (1971) Tate Collection, London.
See also: Surrealist/Pop Art Portraits.

Alexei von Jawlensky (1864-1941)
Portrait of the Dancer Alexander Sakharov (1909) Lenbachhaus, Munich.
Head (1910) Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Head of a Woman (1911) National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
Head of a Woman 'Medusa' (1923) Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon.

Frida Kahlo (1907-54)
Self Portrait with Cat & Monkey (1940) HRH Research Center, Austin.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Marzella (1909-10) Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
Franzi in front of a Carved Chair (1910) Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Portrait of Gerda (1914) Van der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal.

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
Portrait of Emilie Floge (1902) Historisches Museum, Vienna.
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) Private Collection.
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912) Private Collection.

Willem De Kooning (1904-97)
Seated Woman (1944) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Woman 1 (1950-2) Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)
Portrait of Herwarth Walden (1910) State Art Gallery, Stuttgart.
Portrait of Frau Reuther (1921) Norton Simon Foundation, Zurich.

Tamara de Lempicka (Tamara Gorska) (1898-1980)
Auto-Portrait (Tamara in Green Bugatti) (1925) Private Collection.
Girl with Gloves (1929) Private Collection.

Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)
Portrait of TS Eliot (1938) Durban Art Gallery, South Africa.
See also: Figure Painting.

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Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Madame Matisse: Woman with a Hat (1905) Waiter A. Haas Collection.
Madame Matisse: the Green Line (1905) State Art Museum, Copenhagen.

Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920)
Portrait of Madam Pompadour (1915) Art Institute of Chicago.
Portrait of Moise Kisling (1915) Private Collection.
Chaim Soutine (1915) Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart.
Portrait of Juan Gris (1915) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Leopold Zborowski (1916) Private Collection.
Paul Guillaume (1916) Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Milan.
Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne (1918) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Girl with Braids (1918) Nagoya City Art Museum.
See also: Expressionist Portraits.

Gabriele Munter (1877-1962)
Marianne von Werefkin (1909) Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.

William Orpen (1878-1931)
Portrait of Gardenia St. George With Riding Crop (1912) Private Collection.
Portrait of Mrs St. George (c.1920) Private Collection.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
La Celestina (1904) Private Collection.
Boy with a Pipe (Garcon à la Pipe) (1905) Private Collection.
Girl In a Chemise (1905) Tate Collection, London.
Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1909-10) Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.
Woman in White (1923) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Weeping Woman (1937) Tate Gallery, London.
See also: Portraits by Picasso.

Georges Rouault (1871-1958)
Self-Portrait (1911) Private Collection.
The Clown (1912) Musem of Modern Art, New York.
The Old King (1937) Private Collection.

Christian Schad (1894-1982)
Self-Portrait with Model (1927) Tate Collection.

Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Self-Portrait (1912) Leopold Collection, Vienna.
Portrait of Valerie Neuzil (1912) Private Collection.

Grant Wood (1892-1942)
American Gothic (1930) Art Institute of Chicago.

Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)
Portrait of Oscar Miestschaninoff (1923) M.N.A.M., Pompidou Centre, Paris
Pageboy at Maxim's (1927) Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo NY.
Portrait of Madeleine Castaing (1928) Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Graham Sutherland (1903-80)
Portrait of Somerset Maugham (1949) Private Collection.

Andy Warhol (1928-86)
Triple Elvis (Ferus Type) (1963) Private Collection.
Self-Portrait (1967) Tate Modern, London.
Mao (1973) Art Institute of Chicago.
For details, see: Andy Warhol's Pop Art of the sixties and seventies.


Greatest Portrait Paintings? ›

1. The Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci (1503-1506) By far the most famous portrait in the world, The Mona Lisa has been fascinating us for centuries. This young woman is the subject of much research and intrigue and has therefore become a source of inspiration for many artists around the world who have copied her style.

What is the most beautiful portrait of all time? ›

1. The Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci (1503-1506) By far the most famous portrait in the world, The Mona Lisa has been fascinating us for centuries. This young woman is the subject of much research and intrigue and has therefore become a source of inspiration for many artists around the world who have copied her style.

Who was considered the greatest portrait artist that ever lived? ›

1. Leonardo da Vinci. Much of the popularity of Leonardo da Vinci can be attributed to his creation, the greatest portrait of all time — Mona Lisa! Also, in his professional career as a portrait painter, he produced very few works, yet received widespread recognition and popularity.

Who painted the famous portrait? ›

Mona Lisa, also called Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, Italian La Gioconda, or French La Joconde, oil painting on a poplar wood panel by Leonardo da Vinci, probably the world's most famous painting.

Which painting became famous for its life size portrait made in realistic style? ›

Jaipur preferred large size formats and produced life-size portraits. Illustrating scenes from the Bhagvata Purana, depicting different scenes from the life of Lord Krishna and his leela, have been a popular theme throughout the medieval period for artists.

What is the most beautiful painting in the universe? ›

1. Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci (1503-1505) Probably the most famous painting in the world is Leonardo da Vinci's La Gioconda, better known as Mona Lisa.

What is Da Vinci's most famous portrait? ›

Mona Lisa (c. 1503–19)

The world's most famous artwork, the Mona Lisa draws thousands of visitors to the Louvre Museum each day, many of whom are compelled by the sitter's mysterious gaze and enigmatic smile.

Who painted the most realistic portraits? ›

Alyssa Monks is famously known for creating some of the most realistic paintings.

Who owns the Mona Lisa? ›

It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic. It has been on permanent display at the Louvre in Paris since 1797.

What is the difference between a painting and a portrait? ›

Hello, Portrait can be of any size whereas Miniature paintings are the small sized paintings executed on small books or albums, small sized paper or fabric. Portraits are specifically pictures, drawings, paintings or sketches of people, animal etc.

What is the oldest portrait painting? ›

One of the best-known portraits in the Western world is Leonardo da Vinci's painting titled Mona Lisa, which is a painting of Lisa del Giocondo. What has been claimed as the world's oldest known portrait was found in 2006 in the Vilhonneur grotto near Angoulême and is thought to be 27,000 years old.

Which artist is most well known for her numerous self-portraits? ›

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter best known for her uncompromising and brilliantly colored self-portraits that deal with such themes as identity, the human body, and death.

What is the oldest self-portrait painting? ›

Some sources have identified the “Portrait of a Man6 painted by Jan van Eyck in 1433 as the world's first self-portrait (see Figure ​ 2).

Who is the greater painter of all time? ›

Leonardo da Vinci, probably the most important Renaissance artist, is widely recognized as the most famous artist of all time. He's the genius behind the iconic Mona Lisa painting masterpiece, after all.

Which famous artist made more than 60 self-portraits? ›

The portraits of Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) are the self-portraits, portraits of him by other artists, and photographs—one of which is dubious—of the Dutch artist. Van Gogh's dozens of self-portraits were an important part of his œuvre as a painter.

Who was the most famous and sought after portrait painter of the 18th century? ›

Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) painted around 30 self portraits throughout his career and this painting shows him at the height of his achievements. Arguably the greatest English portrait painter of the eighteenth century, Reynolds became the first President of the Royal Academy of Art when it was founded in 1768.

Why is the Mona Lisa portrait so special? ›

Unique Art Techniques

Unlike some artwork of the sixteenth century, the Mona Lisa is a very realistic portrait of a very real human being. Alicja Zelazko of Encyclopedia Britannica attributes this to Leonardo's skill with a brush, and his use of art techniques that were new and exciting during the Renaissance.

Was Mona Lisa the most beautiful? ›

Her enigmatic smile may have bewitched critics and fans alike since 1517 but she is only third on the list of the most beautiful women in art. The woman in Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece was found to be only 86.6 per cent accurate to the Golden Ratio - the Greeks' interpretation of physical perfection.

How much is the Mona Lisa worth? ›

The Mona Lisa is priceless. Any speculative price (some say over a billion dollars!) would probably be so high that not one person would be able or willing to purchase and maintain the painting. Moreover, the Louvre Museum would probably never sell it.

What is the oldest known portrait of a woman? ›

The oldest known portrait of a woman, sculpted from mammoth ivory during the last ice age around 26,000 years ago. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for The Guardian. (Click on image to view larger.)


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