The process of painting a picture or taking a photograph of a person is called portraiture. If an art exhibit only includes pictures of faces, you can describe its focus as portraiture.

Portraiture is the art of making a portrait, which is a close study of one person. Taking a candid snapshot of your friend riding by on her skateboard isn't portraiture. But if you ask your friend to pose with her skateboard while you take a photo — that's what portraiture is all about. Painters who specialize in portraiture often have subjects "sit" while their portraits are painted. Portraiture is rooted in the Old French portraire, "to paint."

Definitions of portraiture

n the activity of making portraits

Type of:
delineation, depiction, portrayal
representation by drawing or painting etc

n a word picture of a person's appearance and character

portrait, portrayal
Type of:
characterisation, characterization, delineation, depiction, picture, word picture, word-painting
a graphic or vivid verbal description

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