Why is portraiture so popular?

Ahead of our Curated Show on portraiture, Sixteen Gallery owner and artist Andy Owen-Smith talks about how the art form is appreciated in different ways by artists, galleries and buyers.

There is something very special about a portrait and the three-way relationship and bond that is established between, the sitter, the artist, and the viewer. I have started to see a growing appreciation of galleries and artists to exhibiting and producing portraits and in researching artists for the forthcoming curated portrait show I discovered a few of the reasons why I believe portraits are now becoming more popular.


There is an increasing number of collectors and others who buy art that are now looking past the personal connection to the subject. They are starting to recognise it as a legitimate form of expression and story-telling through increased narrative and the style of the artist. It is no longer seen as a mystical alchemy with the increased representation on television.


Programmes such as Sky Arts Portrait of the year demonstrate the need to capture more than the persons likeness to form deeper connections between the viewer and the subject. Individuals are starting to want more creativity in the images around them which individual artists and portrait photographers are now starting to provide and convey more in their work. This new appreciation of portraiture as a form of communication is now being picked up in the commercial world of art which in turn is leading to an increase in demand and popularity.


We hope this curated show will encourage you to look beyond the unfamiliarity of the subject and begin to enjoy the narrative and story-telling of the artwork that is on display.

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