10 Most Famous Portraits in the World

Added by Nicola Porrill on Feb 25, 2022
famous portraits

Long before the days of 'selfies' and phones with inbuilt cameras, it was quite a privilege to have your portrait painted. Some portrait paintings have stuck it out through history and stood the test of time, still being instantly recognizable today. Some of these models had to sit for hours while their likenesses were created using paint, a process which often took months - even years. The next time you take a self-portrait, remember these paintings and be thankful that you don't have to sit still for as long as they did!

Today we'll cover some of the most famous portraits of all time - you've probably heard of most of them, but do you know the often intriguing circumstances surrounding them?

Enjoyed this list? Then check out:
This list of the most controversial art pieces of all time, or delve into the centuries-old world of sculpture and see if you recognize some of these famous statues.


Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt painted two pictures of his good friend Adele Bloch-Bauer; this is the first and the most famous. It was finished over 100 years ago in 1907, but during the time of the war the Nazis came and whisked it away. What would Hitler have thought if he'd known that this very same painting would become so famous and popular today?


The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck

Dutch artist Jan van Eyck's painting featuring the wedding of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife is very famous - and also incredibly alluring. Considering that the portrait was painted way back in 1434, it's easy to see the artist's tremendous skill. Art historians have picked this work of art apart (not literally, I might add!) because of all the symbolism and impressive perspective that can be seen within.

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