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Jan Van Eyck's
Jan Van Eyck's "Arnolfini Wedding" portrait.

Jan van Eyck

Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter and is considered one of the most significant Northern European painters of the 15th century. He emerged during the art period known as the Renaissance. His portraits are characterized by their great detail and their ability to capture the subject's expression.

Leonardo da Vinci's
Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa."

Leonardo da Vinci

Also a Renaissance artist, Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most well-known artists to date. His most renowned works go far beyond human portraits, but what is arguably his most famous piece is the "Mona Lisa." This piece is praised because of the expression on the subject’s face; it is puzzling and difficult to read, but realistic nonetheless.

van Gogh's self-portrait.
van Gogh's self-portrait.
Vincent van Gogh

A 19th century artist, Van Gogh's unique technique gives a different feeling to portrait making. His work consists of making very small, uneven brush strokes to create a finished piece. His self-portrait is one of his most famous pieces. Here, you can see his technique clearly. Van Gogh gives way to a more free way of creating art.

Van Gogh's unique form of art, though criticized during his time, began the movement in exploring different art forms. Before him, art had to be completely realistic; there was no room for error. Van Gogh's exploratory art form gave artist's the freedom to explore and be more creative.