Discussing Portraits

Strands – 1. Drawing, 2. Life, society, work & culture in the past.

1. What is a portrait?

2. Who is usually in a portrait painting?

3. Do you have any family portraits/photos at home?

4. Today we have lots of photographs of ourselves and the photographs tell a story of who we are. Portraits used to be expensive and time consuming to paint so people might have only had one. We know an artist can paint a face but how did the artist paint personality?

Portrait of Lucy de László by her husband the artist Philip de László

Lucy De László, née Guinness, by Philip De László
On loan from Hugh Lane Gallery

The Idle Girl by William Orpen

The Idle Girl by William Orpen
On loan from the Guinness Family

Photo by Ross Kavanagh

5. Look at the pictures above and describe the people.
What are they wearing? What are they holding? Where do you think they are? What does this say about who they were? What kind of people do you think they were?

6. Draw your own portrait (or a portrait of someone you admire.) What symbols, objects, clothes or places would you include to describe your (their) personality, or what you (they) like?