These modern portrait paintings are inspired

portrait paintings; a painted eye
(Image credit: Mark Roscoe)

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters has revealed some of the artists being shown at the 132nd Annual Exhibition to be held at Mall Galleries in London this May. This is an exhibit with a difference, as not only can you view some of the best portrait paintings of the year, but you can also buy those on display and even commission the artists for new work.

This art exhibition has been running since 1891 and is the largest and most prestigious celebration of portrait painting in Europe. With more than 230 stunning works of art on show, and with a unique open invitation process that meant anyone could submit, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters' Annual Exhibition is unlike anything else. This year the exhibition received 3,500 entries, a rise on last year's 2,800 submissions.

"Portraiture is not just for the titled, the dons and the captains of industry. Portraiture is made by thousands of painters about all kinds of people; subjects represent every morsel of contemporary society," said The Royal Society of Portrait Painters' president Anthony Connolly, adding: "That balance between the person painted and the stuff of paint is just a huge and enduring fascination. This year’s Annual Exhibition reveals portraiture in the UK to be well and truly ‘bubbling,’ and gives air to a wide variety of painters – without compromising standards."

Portrait painters you can collect

As well as offering a platform for new artists to sit alongside established painters, the Annual Exhibition is a great place for collectors and art lovers. You can buy many of the portrait paintings on display (either at the event or online) and, more excitingly, you can commission your own art. There is a broad range of styles on show, and you could own a new painting by Frances Bell,  Mark Roscoe or Florence Houston

As well as portraits the exhibition will include drawings and original prints from the artists chosen to showcase their work. The show includes both renowned international artists as well as up-and-coming portrait painters, making it unique in the art world.

This year's Royal Society of Portrait Painters' 132nd Annual Exhibition, taking place 4 May 2023 to13 May 2023 in London. You can preview the portrait paintings from 20 April at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters' website.

If you're inspired, then take a look at our tutorial for using strong shadows in portrait painting and read up on everything you may need in our guide to the best art easels as well as the best oil paints and supplies.

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & 3D

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & 3D at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.