Portraiture

This year's list includes Bird Planet, Floridas, I Just Wanna Surf and more.

The Best Books of 2022

The Ten Best Photography Books of 2022

Our favorite titles this year invite viewers to worlds outside their own

Rhea L. Combs (left) and Ava DuVernay (right) share a laugh in front of DuVernay’s portrait during the National Portrait Gallery's 2022 Portrait of a Nation Gala on Saturday, November 12, 2022.

See Stunning Portraits of Ava DuVernay, José Andrés and the Williams Sisters

The National Portrait Gallery's 2022 Portrait of a Nation Award honors seven changemakers, from Anthony Fauci to Clive Davis

From Henry VII’s usurpation of the throne in 1485 to the death of Elizabeth in 1603, Tudor monarchs relied on paintings, sculptures, tapestries and other art forms to legitimize their nascent dynasty.

Why Art Was Such a Powerful Tool for England's Tudor Monarchs

An exhibition at the Met features 100-plus paintings, sculptures, decorative works and objects that testify to the splendor of 16th-century English court

This month, Portraits, a podcast from the National Portrait Gallery, revisits "Finding Cleopatra," a Sidedoor episode with host Lizzie Peabody exploring the life of the artist Edmonia Lewis (above: a photographic portrait by Henry Rocher, c. 1890).

Cleopatra’s Iconoclastic Sculptor Was Her Own Kind of Queen

Smithsonian podcasts delve into the life of Edmonia Lewis, how astronauts sleep, the evolution of the human brain; and drop in on painter Kay WalkingStick

Barack and Michelle Obama at the unveiling ceremony on September 7

Who Are the Artists Behind the New Obama Portraits?

Robert McCurdy and Sharon Sprung add their unique pieces to the White House's collection

In “Postage Pairings,” from the National Portrait Gallery, host Kim Sajet speaks with the Smithsonian's Daniel Piazza, curator of philately, about postage stamps (left: 29c single, july 30, 1993) reproduced from portraits (right: Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, c. 1785).

The Revolutionary Role Mail Played in America’s Fight for Independence

Hear about the colonial period postal service in the latest "Portraits" podcast

Many of this year’s 42 finalists (above: Customer Service Representative by Marianna Olague, 2020) delve into the American psyche, depicting life during the Covid era.

These Are the New Faces of American Portraiture

In its 16th year, the Outwin Portrait Competition reflects the stunning vision of contemporary portrait-based art

Georgia O’Keeffe poses at her home, Ghost Ranch, in New Mexico. The artist often drew on imagery of the American Southwest in her work. 

One-on-One

Unvarnished Photos of Georgia O'Keeffe Show the Elusive Painter in Her Element

Never-before-published photographs offer an intimate look at the iconic artist

Museum visitors admire a Pablo Picasso portrait of Dora Maar.

Meet the Muses Who Inspired Some of the World's Most Iconic Artworks

A new book examines the lives of muses across history and the role they played in shaping treasured works like "The Kiss" and "Ophelia"

Alison Elizabeth Taylor's Anthony Cuts Under the Williamsburg Bridge, Morning (2020), received first prize in the 2022 Outwin competition.

Trending Today

Portrait of a Covid-Era Haircut Claims First Prize in the Outwin Boochever Competition

Judges for the triennial National Portrait Gallery contest chose Alison Elizabeth Taylor's "marquetry hybrid" out of a pool of 42 finalists

This 1588 portrait of Elizabeth I shows the queen after English troops successfully staved off an invasion by the Spanish Armada. It will be on view as part of a Sotheby's exhibition on British queens.

Iconic Portraits and Tiaras Tell the Stories of Britain's Indomitable Queens

As Elizabeth II celebrates 70 years on the throne, Sotheby’s takes a look back at royal history

Historic Royal Palaces conservators hang a portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales, taken in 1988 by photographer David Bailey and commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery. 

How the Royal Family Uses Photography to Connect With the Public

An exhibition at Kensington Palace features images from the 19th century through today, including a never-before-seen portrait of Princess Diana

The Godfather was named Best Motion Picture–Drama in the 1973 Golden Globe Awards and Best Picture in the Academy Awards.

Studio Executives Did Not Want Marlon Brando for the Title Role in 'The Godfather'

On the film's 50th anniversary, a Smithsonian historian reflects on the cultural phenomenon of the blockbuster hit

The award-winning actress, director and entrepreneur Monalisa Chinda is also host of the nationally sindicated television talk show "You & I with Monalisa." 

Photographer Iké Udé Is Retelling Africa's Narrative With the Power of Portraiture

A new show celebrates the stars of Nigeria's Nollywood, the country’s vibrant $3 billion film industry

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The Best Books of 2021

The Ten Best Photography Books of 2021

In year two of the pandemic, our favorite titles invite us into worlds outside our own

David Allan, Edinburgh Milkmaid With Butter Churn, circa 1780–90

See a Rare Watercolor of a Black Woman Living in Edinburgh in the Late 18th Century

Staff at the National Galleries of Scotland, which recently acquired the David Allan painting, hope to uncover more information about the sitter's identity

Frida Kahlo's Diego y yo (1949) sold at auction for $34.9 million on Tuesday night. 

Intimate Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait Sells for $34.9 Million, Smashing Auction Records

The stunning work became the most expensive Latin American artwork ever sold, breaking a benchmark set by the Mexican painter's husband, Diego Rivera

Half-Length Portrait of a Peasant, His Head Resting on His Right Hand, oil tempera on cardboard, c. 1903. The artist created the work at an art colony in Germany.

Artist Paula Modersohn-Becker's Portraits Were Ahead of Their Time

Raw and affecting depictions of rural life in the early 20th century were strikingly modern

Attributed to Mary Way or Elizabeth Way Champlain, A Lady Holding a Bouquet, circa 1790–1800

Women Who Shaped History

These Sisters' Innovative Portrait Miniatures Immortalized 19th-Century Connecticut's Elite

An exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum is the first to showcase Mary and Elizabeth Way's unique creations, which went unrecognized for decades

Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of Simon George of Cornwall (detail), circa 1535–40

Hans Holbein's Portraits Defined—and Immortalized—Tudor England's Elite

An exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum features some of the painter's most famous portraits of power players in Henry VIII's court

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