La Salle University Art Museum
Online Exhibitions

Portraiture in Art


Portrait  A work of art that represents an individual. This   can be illustrated by showing the subject’s physical   likeness, social standing, interests, hobbies, career or   some combination of these.

  Sitter  The subject of the portrait. Usually, a portrait is based   on a series of sittings in which the model (sitter) poses   for the artist.

  Patron  The person who commissions and pays for the portrait.   This may be the sitter or another person.

  Attribute  A quality or characteristic inherent or ascribed to   someone. (

  Self-Portrait  A work of art in which the artist represents him/herself.


  portrait  Occasionally, portraits represent their sitters as   mythological or religious figures, or as physical   embodiments of an idea or virtue  (,e.g.,Sir Thomas   Lawerence’s portrait of Louisa, the Countess of Sandwich   as Hope) Such portraits distinguished the sitter by   attributing to him/her the ideal qualities inherent in those   figures or ideas.