Definition of portrait noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈpɔːtreɪt//
    , BrE//ˈpɔːtrət//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpɔːrtrət//
    Artwork and techniques
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  1. 1a painting, drawing or photograph of a person, especially of the head and shoulders He had his portrait painted in uniform. a full-length portrait a portrait painter Synonymspicture painting drawing portrait print sketchThese are all words for a scene, person or thing that has been represented on paper by drawing, painting, etc.picture a scene, person or thing that has been represented on paper using a pencil, a pen or paint:The children were drawing pictures of their pets.painting a picture that has been made using paint:a collection of paintings by American artistsdrawing a picture that has been made using a pencil or pen, not paint:a pencil/​charcoal drawingportrait a painting, drawing or photograph of a person, especially of the head and shoulders:Vermeer’s ‘Portrait of the artist in his studio’ a self-portrait (= a painting that you do of yourself)print a picture that has been copied from a painting using photography:a Renoir printsketch a simple picture that is drawn quickly and does not have many details:I usually do a few very rough sketches before I start on a painting.Patterns to draw a picture/​portrait/​sketch to paint a picture/​portrait to make a painting/​drawing/​portrait/​print/​sketch to do a painting/​drawing/​portrait/​sketch Wordfinderart, background, canvas, exhibition, foreground, frame, fresco, painting, portrait, watercolour CollocationsFine artsCreating art make a work of art/​a drawing/​a sketch/​a sculpture/​a statue/​engravings/​etchings/​prints do an oil painting/​a self-portrait/​a line drawing/​a rough sketch create a work of art/​an artwork/​paintings and sculptures produce paintings/​portraits/​oil sketches/​his most celebrated work/​a series of prints paint a picture/​landscape/​portrait/​mural/​in oils/​in watercolours/(especially US English) in watercolors/​on canvas draw a picture/​a portrait/​a cartoon/​a sketch/​a line/​a figure/​the human form/​in charcoal/​in ink sketch a preliminary drawing/​a figure/​a shape carve a figure/​an image/​a sculpture/​an altarpiece/​reliefs/​a block of wood sculpt a portrait bust/​a statue/​an abstract figure etch a line/​a pattern/​a design/​a name into the glass mix colours/(especially US English) colors/​pigments/​paints add/​apply thin/​thick layers of paint/​colour/(especially US English) color/​pigment use oil pastels/​charcoal/​acrylic paint/​a can of spray paint work in bronze/​ceramics/​stone/​oils/​pastels/​watercolour/​a wide variety of mediaDescribing art paint/​depict a female figure/​a biblical scene/​a pastoral landscape/​a domestic interior depict/​illustrate a traditional/​mythological/​historical/​religious theme create an abstract composition/​a richly textured surface/​a distorted perspective paint dark/​rich/​skin/​flesh tones use broad brush strokes/​loose brushwork/​vibrant colours/​a limited palette/​simple geometric forms develop/​adopt/​paint in a stylized manner/​an abstract styleShowing and selling art commission an altarpiece/​a bronze bust of somebody/​a portrait/​a religious work/​an artist to paint something frame a painting/​portrait hang art/​a picture/​a painting display/​exhibit modern art/​somebody’s work/​a collection/​original artwork/​drawings/​sculptures/​a piece be displayed/​hung in a gallery/​museum install/​place a sculpture in/​at/​on something erect/​unveil a bronze/​marble/​life-size statue hold/​host/​mount/​open/​curate/​see an exhibition (especially British English)/(usually North American English) an exhibit be/​go on (British English) exhibition/(North American English) exhibit feature/​promote/​showcase a conceptual artist/​contemporary works collect African art/​modern British paintings/​Japanese prints restore/​preserve a fresco/​great works of art see also self-portrait See related entries: Artwork and techniques
  2. 2a detailed description of somebody/something synonym depiction a portrait of life at the French court
  3. Word Originmid 16th cent.: from French, past participle (used as a noun) of Old French portraire ‘portray’.Extra examples The book drew a stark portrait of Quebec’s urban poor. The letters contained many deft pen portraits of his colleagues. The novel provides a vivid portrait of the Holberg family. a fashionable portrait painter a portrait of the Queen by Annigoni Her first film was a stunning portrait of life in the sugar plantations of her native Martinique. She had her portrait painted. Vermeer’s ‘Portrait of the artist in his studio’ a self-portrait in pen and ink
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: portrait