According to the defined canons of art technique a portrait should be above all a faithful representation of its model. However this gallery of 1000 portraits illustrates how the genre has been transformed throughout history and has proven itself to be much more complex than a simple imitation of reality. Beyond exhibiting the skill of the artist the portrait must surpass the task of imitation as just and precise as it may be to translate both the intention of the artist as well as that of its patron without betraying either s wishes. Therefore these silent witnesses carefully selected in these pages reveal more than faces of historic figures or anonymous subjects: they reveal a psychology more than an identity illustrate an allegory serve as political and religious propaganda and embody the customs of their epochs. With its impressive number of masterpieces biographies and commentaries on works this book presents and analyses different portraits consequently exposing to the reader and to any art lover a reflection of the evolution of society and above all the upheavals of a genre that over 3 centuries of painting has shaped the history of art.