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The portrait has an important place in Western art traditions, particularly as a part of academic training for European artists, and second only to history subject matter in the hierarchy of genres. From Mannerism to Baroque to Modern, artists created portrait prints to follow the style of the times.
Rembrandt van Rijn is one of the most famous printmakers to have focused on portraiture. He began making etchings in his early career, and his self portrait studies of various facial expressions informed his larger painting practice in the mid-1600s.
Jumping hundreds of years of art history, portraiture remained an important exploration for artists such as Andy Warhol and Lucien Freud.
The use of the screen print modality to mass reproduce iconic images was a reflection of the global nature of images in popular culture, allowing Warhol to comment on the obsessive nature of society.
Though very different stylistically, Lucien Freud favored printmaking as a method to create and reproduce portraits that scrutinize and study the expressive nature of the human face.
The 18th- and 19th-century science known as physiognomy, or the idea that facial features are related to personality or character traits, prompted interest in portraiture
Frida Kahlo began her artistic training with printmaking. Kahlo's portraits serve as inspiration for many artists interested in exploring the self through self-portraiture
Pablo Picasso was a prolific printmaker in etching, drypoints, lithographs, and linoleum relief prints. He applied the principles of collage and cubism to his printmaking and portraiture