This fascinating new book explores the world of portraiture from a number of vantage points, and asks key questions about its nature. How has portraiture changed over the centuries? How have portraits represented their subjects, and how have they been interpreted? Issues of identity, modernity, and gender are considered within a cultural and historical context. Shearer West uncovers much intriguing detail about a genre that has often been seen as purely representational, featuring examples from African tribes to Renaissance princes, and from 'stars' such as David and Victoria Beckham to ordinary people. In the process, she shows us how to communicate with the past in an exciting new way.