Donor portrait  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A donor portrait or votive portrait is a portrait in a larger painting or other work showing the person who commissioned and paid for the image, or a member of his family. A donor portrait usually refers to the portrait or portraits of donors alone, whereas a "votive portrait" may often refer to a whole work of art, including say a Madonna, especially if the donor is very prominent. But the terms are not used very consistently by art historians, as Angela Marisol Roberts points out.

They are very common in religious works of art, especially paintings, of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, usually shown kneeling to one side, in the foreground of the image. Often, even surprisingly late into the Renaissance, the donor portraits, especially when a whole family is shown, will be at a much smaller scale than the principal figures, in defiance of linear perspective. By the mid 15th century donors began to be shown integrated into the main scene, as bystanders and even participants.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Donor portrait" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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