Faces are everywhere in our lives, wherever we look, but it is not until we meet the genre of portrait painting that we can really study these faces. Their expression may reveal the character of the sitter in a portrait. The manner in which faces are portrayed in art can reflect not only the sitter but also the artist who painted them.
The purpose of portrait paintings not only conveys the likeness of the sitter but can also convey social standing by way of glamorising dresses and outfits and by adding props or antique sculpture to demonstrate the character of the sitter, who may want to be seen in a way that can enhance his or her standing. There are many ways that portraits have depicted people throughout the history of art, ie. capturing moods, the way mouths are painted, half portraits, full portraits. To understand peoples’ faces a visit to The National Portrait Gallery is a must.