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Portraiture in history
For centuries the role of a portrait artist was highly regarded, fulfilling the requirement for image preservation that photography later dominated.
"There's something very classic and timeless about hand painted portraits - here I've chosen some of my favourites from the last five hundred years! The art of portraiture hasn't lost it's popularity, as you can see from the wonderful contemporary Irish portraits that make up the permanent Irish portrait Collection in Dublin's National Gallery.
I've always been intrigued by the air of mystery behind the creation of some of the world's most famous portraits - how long did they take? Were the sitters happy with the results? At various stages in history, to be employed as portrait artist was an extremely priveliged and respected position. Of course the advent of photography as a means of recording faces and historical events is a huge advance but does not mean that the art of portraiture has become redundant - on
the contrary the charm and uniqueness of a painted portrait is still regarded now as a very special way of preserving someone's likeness and image. As a portrait artist it's always a very satisfying challenge to produce a portrait which captures not only an individual's physical likeness, but a glimpse of their character."
Jenny O'Brien, Portrait Artist
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