Portraiture has been with us throughout the ages. From ancient cultures the sculpted portrait bust or painted wooden panel or wall are well known to us.
Come the Renaissance, artists such as Rafael, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Michelangelo and Van Dyke emerged whose technical sophistication was so high it was almost deemed impossible for mere mortals to reach.
From that time to the 20th century and the appearance of modernism, layer upon layer of understanding and experience was gradually built up through generations of portrait painters: apprentices learning their trade in the studios of the old masters to they themselves becoming masters teaching their own pupils.
Generations of Popes, kings, princes, counts, aristocrats, merchants and other such men and women of great import were painted by such artists. Despite the changing styles of the times these artists built their expertise on the shoulders of those before them.
From the late 19th century, with the advent of impressionism, through to expressionism, cubism and abstraction, portrait painting was turned upside down.
The old masters were forgotten and technical portrait painting disappeared. New goals and techniques emerged. As time progressed however, with photography to a certain extent taking the place of the realistic painted portrait, there came a renewed interest in this almost forgotten art – especially technical realism of the highest order.
There was an understanding that the painted portrait plays its part in the telling of a person’s or a firm’s history. It tells a story and forges a link with the past, at the same time reaching out to the future and coming generations.