Portrait painting is a genre in painting, where the intent is to depict the visual appearance of the subject. Beside human beings, animals, pets and even inanimate objects can be chosen as the subject for a portrait. In addition to portrait painting, portraits can also be made in other media such as, etching, lithography, photography, even video and digital media.
The term 'portrait painting' can also describe the actual painted portrait. Portraitists create their work by commission, for public and private persons, or are inspired by admiration or affection for the subject. Portraits are often important state and family records, as well as remembrances.
Historically, portrait paintings have primarily memorialized the rich and powerful. Over time, however, it became more common for middle-class patrons to commission portraits of their families and colleagues. Today, the portrait painting is still commissioned by governments, corporations, groups, clubs, and individuals.