Portraiture occupies a central position in the history of Western art. It has been the most popular genre of painting and has been crucial to the construction and articulation of individualism. Despite this, its status within academic art theory is uncertain and there is no adequate critical analysis of the subject available. With an international team of specialists, including Patricia Simmons, Ludmilla Jordanova, John Gage, Marcia Pointon and Ernst Van Alphen, this volume provides a much-needed, comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to the major issues in the history of portraiture. The book's chapters are structured chronologically, progressing from the Italian Renaissance to Dutch seventeenth-century portraiture and on to Picasso, surrealism, Lucian Freud and Cindy Sherman. Each chapter examines the key developments in portraiture within each specific period, complete with analytical subheadings, making this an ideal book for students.