Greatest Portrait Paintings
List of the best 200 portraits by the leading portraitists in history.

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Girl With the Red Hat (1665-6)
By Jan Vermeer.
National Gallery Washington DC.

Greatest Portrait Paintings (1400-1970)
List of the Top 200 Portraits


Introduction and Criteria
Top 200 Portrait Paintings
- Italian Renaissance
- Northern Renaissance
- 16th Century
- 17th Century
- 18th Century
- 19th Century
- 20th Century

In 1669, Andre Felibien, Secretary to the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, declared that - with the exception of history painting - portrait art was the worthiest type of fine art painting. For other types, see: painting genres.

Blue Boy (1770)
By Thomas Gainsborough.
Huntington Art Collections.

Introduction and Criteria

Our list of the 200 Greatest Portraits features works in fresco, tempera, oils and watercolours, painted on panels, canvas, walls and ceilings, by some of the world's best portrait artists. It contains all forms of the genre, including: religious, mythological and historical portraits, as well as celebrity, vanity and nude portraiture. Selected by our Editor, these individual, family and group portraits illustrate many of the major movements in the history of art, and should serve as a sound basis for further study.

For our interpretation of some of the greatest portraits, please see: Famous Paintings Analyzed. For the largest collection of portraiture (200,000), see the National Portrait Gallery (London).

Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton:
"Pinkie" (1794). By Thomas Lawrence.
Huntington Institute,
San Marino, California.

Portrait of Isaac Levitan (1893)
By Valentin Serov.
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

For the best works, see:
Greatest Paintings (800-1800)
Modern Paintings (1800-1900)
20th-Century Paintings

Top 200 Portrait Paintings

Listed by period then A-Z by artist.

For other types of painting, see the following:

Greatest Genre Paintings (1500-2000)
Famous Landscape Paintings (1800-2000)
Religious Paintings (c.200-present).

Italian Renaissance Portraits

Fra Bartolommeo (1472-1515)
Portrait of Girolamo Savonarola (1498) Museo di San Marco, Florence.
See also: Renaissance Portraits.

Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516)
Doge Leonardo Loredan (1504) National Gallery, London.
See also: Venetian Portrait Painting (1400-1600).

Piero di Cosimo (1461-1521)
Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci (1482) Musee Conde, Chantilly.

Piero della Francesca (1420-92)
Portraits of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza (1465-66) Uffizi.

Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-94)
Francesco Sassetti and his son Teodoro (1487) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Old Man with a Young Boy (1490) Louvre, Paris.

Leonardo (1452-1519)
Lady with an Ermine (Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani) (1490) Czartoryski Museum
Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) (1503) Louvre, Paris.

Andrea Mantegna (1430-1506)
The Court of Ludovico II Gonzaga (c.1474) Ducal Palace, Mantua.
See also: Early Renaissance Painting (1400-90).

Antonello da Messina (1430-1479)
Christ Crowned with Thorns (Ecce Homo) (1470) Metropolitan Museum , NY.
Portrait of a Man (1475) National Gallery, London.
Condottiero (1475) Louvre, Paris.

Pisanello (1394-1455)
Portrait of Ginevra d'Este (1434) Louvre, Paris.

Raphael (Raffaello Sanzi) (1483-1520)
Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (1514-15) Louvre.
Pope Leo X with Cardinals (1518) Galleria Palatina, Pitti Palace, Florence.

Titian (1488-1576)
A Man with a Quilted Sleeve (1512) National Gallery, London.
Pope Paul III with his Grandsons (1546) Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte.
See also: High Renaissance Painting (1490-1530).

Northern Renaissance Portraits

Petrus Christus (1410-75)
Portrait of a Young Girl (1470) Gemaldegalerie, Berlin.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553)
Portrait of Luther and Wife (Diptych) (1529) Uffizi, Florence.

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528)
Self-Portrait (1498) Prado, Madrid.
Self-Portrait with Fur Collar (c.1500) Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

Jan van Eyck (1390-1441)
Man in a Red Turban (1433) National Gallery, London.
Arnolfini Portrait (1434) National Gallery, London.

Jean Fouquet (1420-81)
Portrait of Charles VII of France (1445-50) Louvre, Paris.

Jan Gossaert (1478-1532)
St Donatian of Rheims (1532) Musee des Beaux-Arts, Tournai.

Hans Holbein The Younger (1497-1543)
Erasmus of Rotterdam (1523) Louvre, Paris.
Sir Thomas More (1527, Frick Collection, New York)
Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (1528) National Gallery, London.
Merchant Georg Gisze of Danzig (1532) SMPK, Berlin.
Thomas Cromwell (1532-4) National Portrait Gallery, London.
The Ambassadors (1533) National Gallery, London.
Portrait of Henry VIII (1536) Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid.

16th Century Portraits

Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593)
The Jurist (1566) Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.
Winter (1573) Louvre, Paris.
Summer (1573) Louvre, Paris.
The Gardener (A Joke with Vegetables) Museo Civico, Cremona.
Emperor Rudolf II as Vertumnus (1591) Skoklosters Slott, Sweden.

Agnolo Bronzino (1503-72)
Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi (1540) Uffizi, Florence.
Portrait of Lodovico Capponi (1550-55) Frick Collection, New York.

El Greco (1541-1614)
Portrait of a Cardinal (1600) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Portrait of Felix Hortensio Paravicino (1605) MFA, Boston.

Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619)
Portrait of the Artist's Wife (1578) Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Young Man Among Roses (1587) Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Giovanni Battista Moroni (1524-78)
Portrait of Don Gabriel de la Cueva y Giron (1560) Gemaldegalerie, Berlin.
Portrait of a Man "The Tailor" (1570) National Gallery, London.

Parmigianino (1503-40)
Madonna of the Long Neck (1535), Uffizi, Florence.
See also: Mannerist Painting (c.1530-80).

Jacopo Pontormo (1494-1556)
Cosimo de' Medici Il Vecchio (1518-19) Uffizi, Florence.

17th Century Portraits

Caravaggio (1571-1610)
Boy with a Basket of Fruit (1593) Galleria Borghese, Rome.
The Head of Medusa (1598) Uffizi, Florence.
See also: Caravaggio in Naples (1607-10).

Anthony Van Dyck (Flemish, 1599-1641)
Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio (1623) Palazzo Pitti, Florence.
Triple Portrait Of King Charles I (1635) British Royal Collection.
Equestrian Portrait of Charles I (1638) National Gallery, London.
See also: Baroque Portraits.

Frans Hals (1582-1666)
Officers of the St George Civic Guard (1616) Frans Halsmuseum.
The Laughing Cavalier (1624) Wallace Collection, London.
A Boy with a Violin (1625-30) Private Collection.
See also: Dutch Painting (1600-80).

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
The Anatomy Lesson of Doctor Nicolaes Tulp (1632) Mauritshuis.
Portrait of Agatha Bas (1641) British Royal Collection.
The Night Watch (1642) Rijksmuseum.
Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer
(1653) The Met, New York City.
Portrait of Jan Six
(1654) Private Collection, Amsterdam.
The Syndics of the Cloth-Makers Guild
(Staalmeesters) (1662) Rijksmuseum.

Jusepe 'Jose' Ribera (1591-1652)
Portrait of Archimedes (1630) Prado, Madrid.
Saint Paul the Hermit (1640) Prado, Madrid.
See also: Neapolitan School of Painting (1600-56).

Salvator Rosa (1615-73)
Self-Portrait as a Philosopher (1645) National Gallery, London.

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Helene Fourment in a Fur Wrap (1640) Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

Diego Velazquez (Spanish, 1599-1660)
Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1650) Galleria Doria Pamphili, Rome.
Las Meninas (1656) Prado, Madrid.
See also: Spanish Baroque Art (1600-1700).

Jan Vermeer (1632-1675)
Girl with a Red Hat (1665-6) National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
Girl with a Pearl Earring (1666) Mauritshuis, The Hague.

18th Century Portraits

Francois Boucher (1703-70)
Madame de Pompadour (1758) V & A Museum, London.
See also: Rococo and Neoclassical Portraits (1760-1850).

Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)
Portrait of Madame Recamier (1800) Louvre, Paris.

Jean Honore Fragonard (1732-1806)
Young Girl Reading (1776) National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88)
Mr and Mrs Andrews (1750) National Gallery, London.
The Painter's Daughters with a Cat (1761) National Gallery, London.
Jonathan Buttall: "Blue Boy" (1770) Huntington Library & Gallery, San Marino.

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805)
The Guitar Player (1755-60) Musee des Beaux-Arts, Nantes.
The White Hat (1780) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Antoine-Jean Gros (1771-1835)
General Bonaparte on the Bridge at Arcole (1796) Louvre, Paris.

Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807)
Self-Portrait (1787) Uffizi, Florence.

Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)
Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton: "Pinkie" (1794) Huntington Gallery, San Marino.

Henry Raeburn (1756-1823)
Rev Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch (1784) NGS, Edinburgh.

Allan Ramsay (1713-84)
Portrait of Margaret Lindsay of Evelick (1758) National Gallery of Scotland.
Portrait of David Hume (1766) National Gallery of Scotland.

Joshua Reynolds (1723-92)
Portrait of Nelly O'Brien (1762) The Wallace Collection.
The Brown Boy (1764) Bradford Art Galleries and Museums.
Mrs. Abington (1771) Yale Center for British Art.
Charles Burney (1781) National Portrait Gallery, London.
See also: English Figurative Painting (c.1700-1900).

Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743)
Louis XIV (1701) Louvre, Paris.

Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828)
George Washington (1796) Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York.
See also: American Colonial Art (c.1670-1800).

Johann Tischbein (1751-1829)
Goethe in the Campagna (1787) Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt.

Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun (1755-1842)
Self-Portrait in a Straw Hat (1782) National Gallery, London.
Marie-Antoinette (1788) Palace of Versailles.

19th Century Portraits

Frederic Bazille (1841-70)
The Family Reunion (1867) Musee d'Orsay.

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
Man Smoking a Pipe (1890-2) Hermitage, St Petersburg.
Woman with a Coffee Pot (1890-5) Musee d'Orsay.
The Boy in the Red Vest (1894-5) EG Buhrle Collection, Zurich.
Lady in Blue (c.1900) Hermitage, St Petersburg.
Young Italian Woman Leaning on her Elbow (1900) J. Paul Getty Museum.
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1899) Musee des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.
NOTE: For later works by Cezanne, see 20th Century Portraits, below.

William Merritt Chase (1849-1916)
Portrait of a Woman (1885) Private Collection.
See also: American Impressionist Painting.

Theodore Chasseriau (1819-56)
The Two Sisters (1843) Louvre, Paris.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875)
Woman with a Pearl (c.1870) Louvre, Paris.
Woman in Blue (1874) Louvre, Paris.

Gustave Courbet (1819-77)
Self-Portrait (Man with a pipe) (1849) Musee Fabre, Montpelier.
See also: Realist Painting (19th Century).

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
The Bellelli Family (1858-67) Musee d'Orsay, Paris.
Portraits at the Bourse (1878-9) Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)
The Gross Clinic (1875) University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Girl with a Fan (1902) Folkwang Museum, Hessen.

Theodore Gericault (1791-1824)
The Mad Woman (1822) Musee des Beaux-arts, Lyon.
The Kleptomaniac (1823) Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Self-Portrait with Straw Hat (1887) Detroit Institute of Arts.
Portrait of Pere Tanguy (1887) Stavros S. Niarchos Collection.
Self-Portrait with Felt Hat (1888) Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889) Courtauld Institute Galleries, London.
Portrait of Madame Roulin (1889) Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo.
Self-Portrait (Blue) Saint-Remy (1889) Musee d'Orsay.
Portrait of Dr. Gachet Seated at a Table (1890) Private Collection.
See also: Self Portraits (1400 BCE-present).

Francisco Goya (1746-1828)
Portrait of Charles IV and His Family (1800) Prado, Madrid.

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)
Mademoiselle Caroline Riviere (1806) Louvre, Paris.
Portrait of Monsieur Bertin (1832) Louvre.
Comtesse d'Haussonville (1845) Frick Collection.
Portrait of Madame Moitessier (1856) National Gallery, London.
See also: Academic Art.

Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921)
I Lock My Door Upon Myself (1891) Neue Pinakothek, Munich.

Ivan Kramskoy (1837-1887)
Portrait of a Young Woman (1882) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

John Lavery (1856-1941)
Portrait of Lady Evelyn Farquhar (1912) Private Collection.
See also: Irish Portrait Artists.

Edouard Manet (1832-83)
Olympia (1863) Musee d'Orsay.
Portrait of Emile Zola (1868) Musee d'Orsay.
Portrait of Berthe Morisot with bouquet of violets (1872) Musee d'Orsay.

Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907)
The Old Farmer (1903) Kunsthalle, Hamburg.
See also: German Art (19th Century).

Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Madame Monet on the Sofa (1871) Musee d'Orsay.
The Red Kerchief, Portrait of Madame Monet (1873) Cleveland Museum of Art.
See also: Characteristics of Impressionist Painting (from 1870).

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Young Boy with a Cat (1868) Musee d'Orsay, Paris.
Portrait of Madame Charpentier & Children (1879) Metropolitan Museum, NY.
See also: Impressionist Portraits.

Ilya Repin (1844-1930)
Portrait of Anton Rubinstein (1881) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82)
Beata Beatrix (1864-70) Tate Gallery.
Proserpine (1882) Birmingham Museum of Art.
See also: Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (c.1850).

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
Head of a Capri Girl (1878) Private Collection.
The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882) Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Portrait of Madame X (1884) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Isabella Stewart Gardner (1888) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.
See also: Portraits: Nineteenth Century.

Valentin Serov (1865-1911)
Girl with Peaches (1887) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Portrait of Olga Serova (1890) Russian Museum, St Petersburg.
Portrait of Isaac Levitan (1893) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
See also: Russian Painting (19th Century).

Alfred Stevens (1817-75)
Portrait of Mrs. Collman (1865) National Portrait Gallery, London.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
Portrait of Yvette Guilbert (1894) Musee d'Orsay.
See also: Post-Impressionist Painting (c.1880-1895).

Mikhail Vrubel (1856-1910)
The Seated Demon (1890) Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Girl against a Persian Carpet (1886) Museum of Russian Art, Moscow.

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
Lady of Shalott (1888) Tate Collection, London.

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Arrangement in Grey & Black: The Artist's Mother (1871) Musee d'Orsay.
Symphony in White: No 1: The White Girl (undated) NGA, Washington DC.

David Wilkie (1785-1841)
Self-Portrait (1804) National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.

For an explanation of portraiture produced by 19th century or 20th century artists, see: Analysis of Modern Paintings (1800-2000).

20th Century Portraits

Francis Bacon (1909-92)
Portrait of George Dyer Talking (1966) Private Collection.
Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) Private Collection.
Three Studies for a Self-Portrait (1979-80) Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards (1984) Private Collection.
See also: Contemporary British Painting (1960-2000).

Max Beckmann (1884-1950)
Self-Portrait in a Tuxedo (1927) Harvard Museum.
Self-Portrait in Olive and Brown (1945) Detroit Institute of Arts.

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
Lady in Blue (1900) Hermitage, St Petersburg.
Young Italian Woman Leaning on her Elbow (1900) J.Paul Getty Museum.
NOTE: For earlier works by Cezanne, see 19th Century Portraits, above.

Chuck Close (b.1940)
Self-Portrait (1997) Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Alex Colville (1920-2013)
The Swimming Race (1959) National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa.

Andre Derain (1880-1954)
Self-Portrait in a Floppy Hat (1905) Private Collection.

Otto Dix (1891-1969)
Portrait of the Journalist Silvia von Harden (1926) Musee Moderne Paris.
See also: Portrait Artists: Twentieth Century.

Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
Woman in Black Hat (1908) Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
Le Coquelicot (The Corn Poppy) (1919) Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, Albi.

Lucian Freud (b.1922)
Interior at Paddington (1951) Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
Girl with a White Dog (1952) Tate Gallery, London.
The Painter's Mother (1984) Private Collection.
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (Portrait of Sue Tilley) (1995) Private Collection.

Juan Gris (1887-1927)
Portrait of Pablo Picasso (1912) Art Institute of Chicago.

David Hockney (b.1937)
Mr and Mrs Clarke and Percy (1971) Tate Collection, London.
See also: Surrealist/Pop Art Portraits.

Alexei von Jawlensky (1864-1941)
Portrait of the Dancer Alexander Sakharov (1909) Lenbachhaus, Munich.
Head (1910) Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Head of a Woman (1911) National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
Head of a Woman 'Medusa' (1923) Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon.

Frida Kahlo (1907-54)
Self Portrait with Cat & Monkey (1940) HRH Research Center, Austin.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Marzella (1909-10) Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
Franzi in front of a Carved Chair (1910) Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Portrait of Gerda (1914) Van der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal.

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
Portrait of Emilie Floge (1902) Historisches Museum, Vienna.
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) Private Collection.
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912) Private Collection.

Willem De Kooning (1904-97)
Seated Woman (1944) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Woman 1 (1950-2) Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)
Portrait of Herwarth Walden (1910) State Art Gallery, Stuttgart.
Portrait of Frau Reuther (1921) Norton Simon Foundation, Zurich.

Tamara de Lempicka (Tamara Gorska) (1898-1980)
Auto-Portrait (Tamara in Green Bugatti) (1925) Private Collection.
Girl with Gloves (1929) Private Collection.

Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)
Portrait of TS Eliot (1938) Durban Art Gallery, South Africa.
See also: Figure Painting.

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Madame Matisse: Woman with a Hat (1905) Waiter A. Haas Collection.
Madame Matisse: the Green Line (1905) State Art Museum, Copenhagen.

Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920)
Portrait of Madam Pompadour (1915) Art Institute of Chicago.
Portrait of Moise Kisling (1915) Private Collection.
Chaim Soutine (1915) Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart.
Portrait of Juan Gris (1915) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Leopold Zborowski (1916) Private Collection.
Paul Guillaume (1916) Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Milan.
Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne (1918) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Girl with Braids (1918) Nagoya City Art Museum.
See also: Expressionist Portraits.

Gabriele Munter (1877-1962)
Marianne von Werefkin (1909) Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.

William Orpen (1878-1931)
Portrait of Gardenia St. George With Riding Crop (1912) Private Collection.
Portrait of Mrs St. George (c.1920) Private Collection.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
La Celestina (1904) Private Collection.
Boy with a Pipe (Garcon à la Pipe) (1905) Private Collection.
Girl In a Chemise (1905) Tate Collection, London.
Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1909-10) Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.
Woman in White (1923) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Weeping Woman (1937) Tate Gallery, London.
See also: Portraits by Picasso.

Georges Rouault (1871-1958)
Self-Portrait (1911) Private Collection.
The Clown (1912) Musem of Modern Art, New York.
The Old King (1937) Private Collection.

Christian Schad (1894-1982)
Self-Portrait with Model (1927) Tate Collection.

Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Self-Portrait (1912) Leopold Collection, Vienna.
Portrait of Valerie Neuzil (1912) Private Collection.

Grant Wood (1892-1942)
American Gothic (1930) Art Institute of Chicago.

Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)
Portrait of Oscar Miestschaninoff (1923) M.N.A.M., Pompidou Centre, Paris
Pageboy at Maxim's (1927) Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo NY.
Portrait of Madeleine Castaing (1928) Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Graham Sutherland (1903-80)
Portrait of Somerset Maugham (1949) Private Collection.

Andy Warhol (1928-86)
Triple Elvis (Ferus Type) (1963) Private Collection.
Self-Portrait (1967) Tate Modern, London.
Mao (1973) Art Institute of Chicago.
For details, see: Andy Warhol's Pop Art of the sixties and seventies.

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