is a painting, photograph, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.
Some of the earliest portraits of people who were not kings or emperors, are the funeral portraits that survived in the dry climate of Egypt's Fayum district. These are the only paintings of the Roman period that have survived, aside from frescos.
The art of the portrait flourished in Roman sculptures, where sitters demanded realistic portraits, even unflattering ones. During the 4th century, the portrait began to retreat in favor of an idealized symbol of what that person looked like. (Compare the portraits of Roman Emperors Constantine I and Theodosius I at their entries.); In Europe true portraits of the outward appearance of individuals re-emerged in the late Middle Ages, in Burgundy and France.
One of best-known portraits in the Western world is Leonardo da Vinci's painting titled Mona Lisa, which is a painting of an unidentified woman. The worlds oldest known portrait was found in 2006 by a local pensioner, Gérard Jourdy, in the Vilhonneur grotto near An;ulême and is thought to be 27,000-year-old.