|Photo from Wikimedia|
Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan - Hans Holbein the Younger. This wonderful life-size portrait, which the photograph doesn't do justice to at all, was made as a bride-research project for King Henry VIII. Though happy to be painted, the lady is supposed to have said that if she had two heads, she would gladly lay one of them at the service of the King of England. Proving that if she didn't have two heads, she did have at least one brain.
I think my favourite paintings might all be those by artists who got spectacularly good at one thing. Holbein also designed magnificent metalwork and jewellery, but his fame is as a portraitist. All his portraits have this living presence, coming from a hundred clever technical tricks, like the close backgrounds, and careful attention to asymmetries in the faces, but surely also from a wonderful eye for people. There were others who knew the tricks, but they weren't this good. They couldn't paint a dimple in the act of appearing.
Although this lady is more like me: Anne Lovell - Lady with a Squirrell and a Starling. No doubt the capable manager of a large household, she is not used to being painted, and he has managed to paint her disconcerted awareness of his gaze: look at the squirrel's tail, so like a squirrel-hair paintbrush, tickling. What a craftsman.