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The History of Portraits

Probably the most iconic portrait in the world is created by Leonardo da Vinci – and we don’t have to say more, you know already, that it’s Mona Lisa. The portrait was painted more than 500 years ago and is considered to be the best known, most visited, most written about, most sung about and most parodied work of art in the world. Da Vinci used a different technique than many other painters. Instead of hard and very realistic lines, da Vinci used soft and blended brush strokes. While the Mona Lisa is an incredible painting with her playful smile and expressive eyes, this painting probably got most of its notability due to its infamous theft in 1911.

The art of portraits goes much more then 500 years back. For as long as humans has drawn – portraits has existed. Portrait paintings goes at least 5,000 years back in time to ancient Egypt, but one could wonder if it goes even further back in time – since the longing to carry an image of one’s loved ones lies deep in the human nature.

Modern art

Throughout the history of art, the portrait has evolved through many stages. In the early days, portraits was often used simply as a way to represent the person and the institution behind. In our time the artistic portrait has evolved to fulfill many roles and sources of inspiration. This is also because the photographic technique now represents the exact reproduction, so the painted portrait must capture moods and personality to a greater extent to stay relevant.

Whatever the subject might be, the portrait attempts to reveal the true expression of the face, to capture the emotion of the moment, which otherwise would be lost forever.

In the early 1900s artists began exploring the inner psyche of their sitter, more so than their facial features or expressions. Portraiture emerged as an exploration into human psychology, with artists such as Matisse and Picasso playing with colour, line, and form like never before.

In the mid 1900s, portrait artistry began to become less popular – instead making way for abstract and conceptual arts. In the 1960s, however, artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein brought portraits back in focus with the introduction of pop art. And just like Mona Lisa – we can all imagine the portraits of Marilyn Monroe from Warhol’s Factory.

Visualising Company values with Employee portraits

Today, companies use mostly photographic portraits when the employees of the company are shown to stakeholders. Portraits are important to everybody, and they help transform companies from a faceless business to a corporate brand of real people – people to whom you can relate. Best example of an iconic portrait done by a photographer recently is the picture of Steve jobs shot in 2006 by Albert Watson.

With the increasing digitalisation, employee portraits has become much more important – but also more complicated and time consuming for organisations to handle. And Eikonice is on mission to change that. In broad sense the use of portraits today is multifaceted – employee portraits for identification or presentation. Our platform introduces digital automation for both reasons to an area with thousands of years history.

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