Portraits come in all types of media and are created for different reasons. The most familiar type of portrait is a painting, but drawings, prints and sculptures are also common.
As they take different forms, portraits can also perform different purposes. They are usually created for public viewing, whether that is a statue in an open space, or a family painting for visitors to see. Royal portraits could be used to convey power, wealth and ancestry. Others indicate the sitter’s profession, beliefs or tastes. In the modern era portraits often convey more sentiment and emotion in the artist’s greater variety of technique, location and expression.
The Cooper Gallery has a wonderful array of portraits and close-up scenes of people. They are of many different styles, materials and periods. We’ve chosen a selection below of royalty, fortune tellers and children at work and at play.
‘Portrait of King Christian II of Denmark’, mid-late 16th century
Follower of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 – 1553)
Oil on canvas
This portrait is by an unknown artist who has copied the work of Lucas Cranach. Cranach is best known for his portraits of German princes and other prominent leaders of Europe. King Christian II is shown wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece. This was an order of chivalry founded in 1430 by Duke Philip III of Burgundy to celebrate his marriage to the Portuguese princess, Isabel of Aviz.