Examples of portraits by artists who were born before 1700 CE:
Egypt, c. 2700-2620 BCE (3rd Dynasty), Sepa (and Nesa), painted limestone statues, 1.05 x 40 cm, Louvre. See Egyptian art and polychrome.
Egypt, c. 2620-2350 BCE (4th or 5th Dynasty), The Seated Scribe, Sakkara, painted limestone statue, 53.7 x 44 x 35 cm, Louvre.
Mesopotamia, Mari, (Middle Euphrates): Temple of Ishtar, around 2400 BCE, Ebih-Il, the Superintendent of Mari, statuette, alabaster, height 0.52 m, Louvre. See Mesopotamian art.
Egypt, 1842-1797 BCE (12th Dynasty), King Amenemhat III, schist statuette, 21.4 x 10 cm, Louvre.
Egypt, Dynasty 18 (Reign of Akhenaten), Canopic Jar Lid, c. 1353-1335 BCE, alabaster, height 7 1/8 inches (18.1 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. Although we do not know her identity, the subject of this sculpture is thought to be a specific member of the Egyptian royal family.
Egypt, c. 1303-1290 BCE (19th Dynasty), The Goddess Hathor and King Sethi I, Tomb of Sethi I in the Valley of Kings, painted limestone bas-relief, 2.265 x 1.05 m, Louvre.
Mesopotamia, Khorsabad, palace of Sargon II, Neo-Assyrian period, reign of Sargon II (721-705 BCE), Sargon II and a high official, gypseous alabaster, height 3.30 m, Louvre.
Egypt, c. 550 BCE (28th dynasty), Bust of an Old Man, schist, 25.2 x 18.5 cm, Louvre. See bust.
Egypt, 3rd or 4th century BCE, Mummy of a Man, length 1.67 m, Louvre.
Rome, Roman copy after a Greek original created c. 150 BCE, Portrait of Homer, Pentelic marble, height 55 cm, Louvre. See Greek and Roman art.
Roman, signed by Cleomenes of Athens, 23 BCE, Statue of Marcellus (son-in-law of Emperor Augustus), marble, height 71 inches (180 cm), Louvre.
Rome, Statue of the Emperor Octavian Augustus, first quarter of the 1st century CE, height 185 cm, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. The emperor is represented here as Jupiter, the supreme God of the Roman pantheon, and this statue is a typical example of Roman sculpture from the time of the Empire. The composition was adapted from the celebrated sculpture of Zeus by Phidias, which allowed the placing of the appropriate attributes in Augustus's hands: a Nike and a sceptre. The sculptor preserved the emperor's portrait features, but idealized them to create a formal cult statue. See mythology.
Roman, Asia Minor, about CE 40, Head of Caligula Worked for Insertion into Togatus Statue, marble, height 16 15/16 inches (43 cm), J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA. The Roman emperor Gaius, more commonly known by his nickname Caligula, ruled from 37 to 41 CE and was extremely unpopular. In fact, after he was murdered, almost all portraits of him were destroyed.
Roman, CE 117-138, Hadrian, bronze, height 48 cm, Louvre.
Egypt (Hawara, Roman period, second century AD), Funerary Portrait of a Young Girl, encaustic on wood, height 15 3/4 inches, Cleveland Museum of Art.
China, Khara-Khoto, Portrait of a Nobleman, 12th century, paper, gouache, 45 x 32 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
French Gothic, King Childebert, c. 1239-1244, stone with traces of polychrome, 75 x 21 x 22 inches (191 m x 53 m x 55 cm), from the refectory of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, and now in the Louvre. See monastery.
France, Portrait of Jean le Bon (1319-1364), King of France, c. 1350, wood panel, 0.60 x 0.445 m, Louvre.
Chinese, 14th century, Portrait of the Emperor Hung-wu, hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, National Palace Museum, Taipei.
Antonio Puccio, known as Pisanello (Italian, before 1395-1455?), Portrait of Ginevra d'Este, c.1436-1438 (?), wood panel, 0.43 x 0.30 m, Louvre.
Fra Filippo Lippi (Italian, Florentine, c. 1406-1469), Portrait of a Man and Woman at a Casement, c. 1440, tempera on wood panel, 25 1/4 x 16 1/2 inches (64.1 x 41.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. (On the Met's page, you can enlarge any detail.)
Jean Fouquet (French, c. 1420-1477/1481), Portrait of Charles VII (1403-1461), King of France, c. 1445-1450, wood panel, 0.86 x 0.71 m, Louvre.
Piero della Francesca (Italian, c. 1422-d. 1492), Portrait of Sigismondo Malatesta (1417-1468), c. 1450, wood panel, 0.44 x 0.34 m, Louvre.
Andrea del Verrocchio (Italian, 1435-1488), Bust of a Young Woman, marble, height 18 7/8 inches (48 cm), width 19 3/16 inches (48.7 cm), diameter 9 3/8 inches (23.8 cm), Frick Collection, NY. See bust.
Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci) (Italian, 1452-1519), Mona Lisa (La Joconde) (1479 - d. before 1550), c. 1503-1506, oil on wood panel, 77 x 53 cm, Louvre. This most famous of paintings is important for many reasons, not least of which is the subject's mysterious expression. Contibuting to this effect is Leonardo use of sfumato, which seems to suggest that we are observing this face as its expression is changing. This portrait also presents early examples of aerial perspective and landscape painting. See Renaissance.
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528), Portrait of Erasmus, 1520, black chalk, 14 3/5 x 10 1/2 inches (37.1 x 26.7 cm), Louvre. See drawing and Northern Renaissance.
Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, 1472-1553), Martin Luther (1483-1546), oil on wood panel, 13 1/8 x 9 1/8 inches (33.3 x 23.2 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Titian (Titiano Vecellio) (Italian, 1477/901576), Portrait of a Man in a Red Cap, c. 1516, oil on canvas, 32 3/8 x 28 inches (82.3 x 71.1 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
Raffaello Santi, known as Raphaël (Italian, 1483-1520), Baltazar Castiglione (1478-1529), c. 1514-515, oil on canvas, 0.82 x 0.67 m, Louvre.
Jacopo Carrucci da Pontormo (Italian, Florence, 1494-1557), Halberdier (Francesco Guardi?), about 1528 - 1530, oil (or oil and tempera) on panel transferred to canvas, 36 1/4 x 28 3/8 inches (92 x 72 cm), J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA.
Ambrosius Holbein (German, c.1495 - c.1520), Portrait of a Young Man, 1518, tempera on wood panel, 17 x 13 inches (44 x 32.5 cm), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. This portrait is a late work by Ambrosius Holbein, who died very young. Ambrosius was the elder brother of the renowned portraitist Hans Holbein the Younger. See Northern Renaissance.
Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/98-1543), Sir Thomas More, 1527, oil on wood panel, 29 1/2 x 23 3/4 inches (74.9 x 60.3 cm), Frick Collection, NY. See Northern Renaissance.
Hans Holbein the Younger, Nicolas Kratzer (c. 1486-after 1550), 1528, oil on wood panel, 0.83 x 0.67 m, Louvre.
Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of a Member of the Wedigh Family, Probably Hermann Wedigh (died 1560), 1532, oil on wood panel, 16 5/8 x 12 3/4 inches (42.2 x 32.4 cm), with added strip of 1/2 inches (1.3 cm) at bottom, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. (On the Met's page, you can enlarge any detail.)
Danese Cattaneo (Italian, c.1509-1572), Bust of a Jurist, mid 16th century, bronze, height 27 3/8 inches (69.5 cm), Frick Collection, NY. Inscribed on the base: TITI[A]NO / VECELLI / 1540. See bust.
China, Ming dynasty, 16th century, Portrait of Sung Jen-tsung, hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, National Palace Museum, Taipei. See Chinese art.
Giorgio Vasari (Italian, 1511-1574).
Federico Brandani (Italian, c.1522/1525-1575) (attributed to), Antonio Galli, c.1560, bronze, height 23 1/4 inches (59 cm), Frick Collection, NY. Inscribed on the base: ANTONIUS.GALLUS
François Clouet (French, -1572), Portrait of Pierre Quthe (a pharmacist, 1519-after 1588), 1562, oil on wood panel, 0.91 x 0.70 m, Louvre.
"El Greco", Domenico Theotocopoulos (Greek-Spanish, 1540-1614), Vincenzo Anastagi, between c. 1571 and 1576, oil on canvas, 74 x 49 7/8 inches (188 x 126.7 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
Tibet, Sonam Gyatso (Third Dalai Lama), 16th-17th centuries, copper, gilding, height 14.5 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Isaac 0liver (English, c. 1565-), Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex, Great Britain, c. 1605, miniature in gouache on vellum, 5 x 4 cm, Louvre.
Guido Reni, Italian (Bologna, 1575-1642), Portrait of Cardinal Roberto Ubaldino (1581-1635), Papal Legate to Bologna, before 1625, oil on canvas, 77 1/2 x 58 3/4 inches (196.9 x 149.2 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640), Isabella Brant, c. 1620, oil on wood panel, Cleveland Museum of Art.
Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of the Daughter of Balthasar Gerbier d'Ouvilly, 1629, black, red and white chalk, with touches of pen with brown ink, on yellowish-grey paper, 33.5 x 23 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. See drawing.
Peter Paul Rubens, Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment (1614-1673), and Their Son Peter Paul (born 1637), probably late 1630s, oil on wood panel, 80 1/4 x 62 1/4 inches (203.8 x 158.1 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. (On the Met's page, you can enlarge any detail.)
Frans Hals (Dutch, 1581/85-1666), Portrait of a Painter, early 1650s, oil on canvas, 39 1/2 in. x 32 5/8 inches (100.33 cm x 82.87 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
Cornelis de Vos (Flemish, 1584-1651), Portrait of a Lady with Her Daughter, c. 1620, oil on pine wood panel, 43 1/2 x 33 7/8 inches, Legion of Honor, San Francisco.
Nigerian (Edo, Benin City, seventeenth century), Head of a King, bronze, Cleveland Museum of Art.
Antoon [Anthony] van Dyck (Flemish, 1599-1641), Frans Snyders and Margareta Snyders, a pair of portraits, each: c. 1620, oil on canvas, c. 55 x 40 inches (135 x 100 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
Antoon [Anthony] van Dyck, Charles I at the Hunt (1600-1649), King of England, c. 1635, oil on canvas, 2.66 x 2.07 m, Louvre.
Diego Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) (Spanish, 1599-1660), King Philip IV of Spain (160565), 1644, oil on canvas, 51 1/8 x 39 1/8 inches (129.8 x 99.4 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
Diego Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez), Juan de Pareja (c. 1610-1670), 1650, oil on canvas, 32 x 27 1/2 inches (81.3 x 69.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. (On the Met's page, you can enlarge any detail.)
Diego Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) (Spanish, 1599-1660), The Family of Philip IV, or "The Maids of Honor (Las Meninas)", c. 1656, oil on canvas, (318 x 276 cm), Prado Museum, Madrid.
This is a group portrait of an exceptional sort:
In the center-foreground is the infanta (princess) attended by her meninas (maids of honor) -- companions including two young ladies, a dwarf, a child, a dog, a nun, and a tutor.
This little party is visiting the studio where Velázquez stands before his canvas. We see the back of it, perched upon an easel. The painter and most of the others look toward the king and queen as they pose for the painting in progress.
The king and queen would not actually be visible in this picture if their reflected image could not be seen in a mirror placed on the opposite wall. Altogether this is a view, which could only be seen by the king and queen themselves, as they pose for their portrait. The point of view of every person who gazes upon this painting is that of the king and queen of Spain. A very privileged vantage indeed!
Further increasing the sense that we are present at a specific moment is our glimpse of a man in the distant doorway, pausing as he descends or ascends -- either entering or exiting the chamber. See Baroque, genre, self-portrait, and Spanish art.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669), Self-Portrait at Twenty-Two , 1628, oil on panel, 22.6 x 18.7 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.See chiaroscuro and shadow.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Nicolaes Ruts, 1631, oil on panel, 46 x 34 3/8 inches (116.8 x 87.3 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch, "The Night Watch", 1642, oil on canvas, 363 x 437 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Self-Portrait at an Open Window, 1648, etching, 16 x 13 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Self-Portrait, 1658, oil on canvas, 52 5/8 x 40 7/8 inches (133.7 x 103.8 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Titus van Rijn in a Monk's Habit, also known as Titus as St. Francis, 1660, oil on canvas, 79.5 x 67.5 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Self-Portrait as St. Paul, 1661, oil on canvas, 91 x 77 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, The Sampling Officials, 1662, oil on canvas, 191.5 x 279 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of Gerard de Lairesse, c. 1665, oil on canvas, 44 1/8 x 34 1/2 inches (112 x 87.6 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Bartholomeus van der Helst (Dutch, 1613-1670).
Robert Nanteuil (French , 1623-1678), Portrait of Louis XIV, 17th century, engraving, 49.7 x 42.6 cm (image) inches, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA. Nanteuil was the official engraver of portraits for King Louis XIV. The excellence of his engravings' craftsmanship has never been surpassed.
Detail of Louis' eye.
Antoine Coysevox (French, 1640-1720), Robert de Cotte, early 18th century, bronze, height 21 3/8 inches (54.3 cm), Frick Collection, NY. See bust.
Antoine Coysevox, Louis XV as a Child of Six, 1716, marble, height 23 1/2 inches (59 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
Nicolas de Largilliere (French, 1656-1746), Portrait of Catherine Coustard, Marquise de Castelnau, Wife of Charles-Leonor Aubry, with Her Son Leonor, c. 1699-1700, oil on canvas, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Hyacinthe Rigaud (French, 1659-1743), Portrait of Louis XIV (1638-1715), 1701, oil on canvas, 2.77 x 1.84 m, Louvre.
John Smibert (Scottish, 1688-1751, active in the US), Portrait of Major General Paul Mascarene, 1729, oil on canvas, 40 1/2 x 31 5/8 inches (102.9 x 80.3 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764), Miss Mary Edwards (1705-43), 1742, oil on canvas, 49 3/4 x 39 7/8 inches (126.4 x 101.3 cm), Frick Collection, NY.
See examples of portraits by artists who were born later than those represented above:
Also see imagines and self-portrait.