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List of Famous Portrait Paintings

Updated June 8, 2017 147 votes 26 voters 161.9k views578 items

List of the most famous portrait paintings in the world, listed alphabetically with pictures of the art when available. The popular portrait paintings on this list are considered to be some of the most recognizable works of art on the planet, so save yourself a trip to the museum and check out this artwork from the comfort of your own home. portrait is an extremely important genre in the art world, so it's no surprise that some of the most recognizable fall under the portrait genre. You can find additional information about these well-known paintings by clicking on the names of the pieces.

Everything from Mona Lisa to Whistler's Mother is featured on this list, so cast your votes below.

This list answers the questions, "What are examples of portrait paintings?" and "What are the most famous portrait paintings?"
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    The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been acclaimed as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world". The painting, thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, is in oil on a white Lombardy poplar panel, and is believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506. Leonardo may have continued working on it as late as 1517. It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris since 1797. The subject's expression, which is...  more
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      Girl with a Pearl Earring is an oil painting by 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is a tronie of a girl with a headscarf and a pearl earring. The painting has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague since 1902....  more
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        Las Meninas is a 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age, in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The work's complex and enigmatic composition raises questions about reality and illusion, and creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures depicted. Because of these complexities, Las Meninas has been one of the most widely analyzed works in Western painting. The painting shows a large room in the Royal Alcazar of Madrid during the reign of King Philip IV of Spain, and presents several figures, most identifiable from the Spanish court, captured, according to some commentators, in a particular moment as if in a snapshot. Some look out of...  more
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          The Lansdowne portrait is an iconic oil-on-canvas portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. The portrait was commissioned in April 1796 by Senator William Bingham of Pennsylvania—one of the wealthiest men in the U.S. at the time—and his wife, Anne. The portrait measures 8 by 5 feet and was given as a gift of appreciation to British Prime Minister, born William Petty FitzMaurice; the second Earl of Shelburne and subsequently the first Marquess of Lansdowne. Petty-FitzMaurice was an American sympathizer who supported independence of the colonies in Parliament. He succeeded in securing peace with America during his term as Prime Minister of Great Britain. The...  more
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