Portrait commissions remain an important art form and co-collaboration between artist and sitter. The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, for example, placed a record number of commissions again last year, up by over 24%, despite the onslaught of the smartphone, Snapchat and the selfie.
Unlike a reflection in the mirrors or a photograph, the painted portrait is the distillation of many moments and is interpreted through the imagination of an artist, so a portrait often teaches us to see somebody differently. A good portrait not only captures something essential about a person, it can also reveal unseen aspects of a personality or physique. Very often seeing a portrait for the first time is therefore disconcerting, it takes time to learn a new way of seeing mediated by the artist and the medium.
It is not just the commissioning of portraits that flourishes, historical portraiture is also still in vogue. Last year, for example, an exhibition of Rembrandt’s later portraits attracted over a quarter of a million visitors, and exhibitions of portraits by Goya and Sargent were also hugely popular. Looking back, Rembrandt portraits took centre stage at the National Gallery in 2014, Manet at the Royal Academy in 2013 and Freud at the National Portrait Gallery in 2012. Portrait painting seems to be a growing and popular genre.
An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.
If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.