The author begins with the myths surrounding the origins of portraits, and goes on to look at their many uses and functions. She examines the various types of portrait and the subjects, explains the meaning of each type of portrait, and, while presenting some real classics, suggests an unusual and captivating version of the iconography involved.
Individual portraits, group portraits, self-portraits, portraits of couples, even portraits of animals: there are an infinite number of variations on this art genre which has been very popular over the ages and which shows no signs of abating, even in the contemporary world. Portraits have been used not merely as instruments of power and propaganda; they have also constituted an important means of documentation, apart from their importance as a religious art form, in funerary monuments and in collectionism. Always a very topical subject, even in Antiquity, and even more so now in our own civilization where image is all-important.