HomeMemorial Paintings - The Ultimate Guide To Commissioning One

Memorial Paintings - The Ultimate Guide to Commissioning one

Posted on 30 December, 2022

Grieving and loss are a part of life. Memorial paintings and portraits help to alleviate the pain of loss by honoring the memories of the deceased loved one. The guide will help you to keep in mind the factors that need to be kept in mind when commissioning a memorial portrait.


Memorial paintings are pieces of art produced to memorialize and honor the memories of a person or to commemorate an event. Memorial paintings are portrait paintings of individuals who have passed away. They are used to pay respect to a deceased loved one or to memorialize historically significant events. These works are housed in museums, art galleries, public areas, and homes.

The practice of commemorating those who have passed is very old when humans were hunter-gatherers. Throughout history, people have made paintings, sculptures, and other art forms to honor their deceased loved ones. One of the oldest memorial paintings in the world are Fayum Mummy portraits, discovered in the Fayum region of Egypt, dating back to 1 BCE to 4 BCE century.  Memorial portraits play a therapeutic role in the grieving process in many cultures.

Fayum mummy memorial portrait wikicommons paintphotographsFayum mummy memorial portrait (Image Credits: Wikicommons.org)


Memorial paintings and memorial portraits were popular in the past, among the aristocracy. Particularly during the 17th and 18th centuries. When commissioned memorial portrait paintings were a common way for wealthy families to remember their deceased relatives.

With the advent of photography, its popularity had dipped a bit during the last few decades. But people continue to look for unique and personal ways to remember their deceased loved ones. Which has led to an increase in the demand for memorial paintings and portraits in recent years. Fueling the trend in part by the availability of internet technologies. Sites such as Paintphotographs create and deliver high-quality memorial paintings. From commissioning to approval to delivery, the entire process is convenient and online.

Styles of Memorial Paintings

Styles of memorial paintings are many. From abstract art to realistic paintings. They use a wide range of mediums, such as oil paint, watercolors, and charcoal for sketches. The style and medium of a memorial painting change depending on the purpose of the artwork and individual tastes. For example, an abstract painting may be used to honor a loved one's creative soul. While a more realistic painting can be used to depict public figures and political leaders. No matter the medium or style was chosen to execute the artwork, memorial paintings are always deeply personal works of art to honor and cherish those who have passed on.

Memorial paintings by Function

Memorials serve different purposes. It is important to determine the purpose of the memorial painting when commissioning a memorial portrait. 

Remembrance Individual memorial Portraits:

These are portrait paintings of the person, who have passed away. Usually, a family member or someone important to the person commissioning the painting.

memorial painting of grandfatherMemorial Portrait of a Grandfather (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)


Remembrance Couple Memorial Portrait Paintings:

These memorial paintings are of the couple who have passed away, and their family wants to create a portrait of the couple as a remembrance of the deceased loved ones.

parents memorial painting, memorial oil painting from photo, painting of deceased loved one from picCouple Memorial Painting of Parents (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)


Composite Memorial Paintings:

Composite paintings, also known as compilation portraits. Where no photo or image of the couple is available. A memorial portrait is made by combining or merging two separate photos and then creating an oil painting portrait of the resulting image.

composite painting of deceased loved one from two photos, merge photo memorial oil painting from photo, Composite Memorial Painting from Two separate photos (Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)


Historical and Public Figure Memorial Paintings:

Memorial portraits can be a powerful way to remember and honor the people who have shaped our history. Through these portraits, we can appreciate the courage and perseverance of those who lived through challenging times. They remind us of the past and that it is important to preserve the history for future generations.

lal bahadur shastri memorial painting, Shri lal bahadur shastri, memorial oil portrait painting  Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri (Former P.M. of India) 

Memorial Oil Portrait Painting  (Image Credit: Paintphotographs.com)


Commemorative Historical scenes:

Memorial portraits play a critical part in preserving and remembering historical events. Such works of art depict a historic turning point such as a war.

Liberty leading people by Eugene Delacroix, Historical memorial painting wikicommons paintphotographs Liberty Leading People by Eugene Delacroix

Historical memorial painting (Image Credits: Wikicommons.org) 

One of the best examples of a commemorative historical painting is 'Liberty Leading the People' by Eugène Delacroix. Painted in 1830 to commemorate the July Revolution of 1830, also known as the Second French Revolution (Trois Glorieuses). Such paintings capture the key elements and moods of the period and dramatically depict them. Such paintings act as a visual record of important historical moments. Historical memorial portraits are an important tool to preserve and educate people on historical events.

Memorial Group portraits:

These paintings depict a group of people, often a family or a group of friends, in a single composition. Memorial Paintings can be made from such group photographs. Many times some people might need to be added to the group. In such cases, their images or photos can be taken from another photograph and added to the composition and a composite painting.

Religious themes based Memorial Portraits:

Many memorial paintings often feature religious themes or figures as a way to honor and remember the deceased loved one. This can be seen in many works of art from the Renaissance era, where religious symbolism was commonly used in memorial paintings like paintings of the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ. In Indian memorial paintings, temples or spiritual gurus and saints are present. often dedicated to the memory of a deceased loved one who was thought to have special significance to the person.

parents memorial painting, painting of deceased loved one from photo, merge photo memorial  paintingComposite Memorial Painting with Dakshineswar Kali Temple Background

(Image Credits: Paintphtographs.com)

In the above painting, the Dakshineswar temple had a special significance for the old couple.  So their family commissioned us to create a composite memorial painting with the temple in the background.

Landscapes Memorials:

Landscape memorial paintings depict a specific location, usually a place that holds a unique significance for the person commissioning the painting. Landscapes serve as a reminder of a certain moment in time, such as a summer vacation or the first trip with friends. They can also have deeper meanings, such as representing someone's journey in life. Landscape paintings are often used to capture a place that holds sentimental value for the person commissioning the painting. Resulting in an artwork that is both beautiful, meaningful, and deeply personal.

Overall, memorial paintings are a powerful way to remember and honor those who have passed away or to celebrate significant personal milestones or historical events. They serve as a visual record of the people and events that have shaped our past and continue to be important landmarks of our cultural heritage and future.

Memorial paintings are popular in many cultures. Though the styles and traditions associated with these paintings vary greatly. In modern cultures, for example, memorial paintings are frequently created in a realistic style. With the intent of capturing the physical likeness of the deceased. In other cultures, memorial paintings may be more symbolic. With the deceased person represented by certain objects or animals.

Mediums Used in Memorial Paintings

There are a variety of mediums used to create handmade oil paintings.

Oil Paints

For centuries, oil paintings have been the preferred medium of expression. often used to capture scenic beauty or to memorialize people. And important events such as birth, marriage, and death. Many great artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, have used oil paints to create some of history's most iconic masterpieces. Such as the Monalisa painting. Oil paint remains the most popular medium for artists. Oil paintings are an ideal choice due to their vivid colors, smooth finish, durability, and easy maintenance. 

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are very versatile mediums. They allow the artist to combine colors, create unique textures, and produce a range of effects. Acrylic paints are durable, which allows them to be hung in any setting. Acrylic paints are non-toxic and simple to clean, making them an ideal medium for artists.

Charcoal Drawings

Charcoal is a medium commonly used for making sketches. It is a black and dry powdery substance usually made from burning wood. The charcoal black has a particular texture that helps to create dramatic portrait sketches and landscapes. Because of its tonal value, charcoal is used to create both dark and light shades to give a dramatic effect on the sketch work

Mixed Media

Mixed media art incorporates a variety of materials and artistic mediums into a single piece. For example, in the same painting, you could use oil and acrylic paints. The combination of mediums allows the artists to experiment with different hues. And textures to convey a message.

The usefulness of mixed-media painting lies in the layering of different materials. Which creates depth and complexity in the painting. Mixed-media painting is a versatile and dynamic medium. That allows artists to create unique and engaging works of art.

Each of the above mediums can be used to create a beautiful, unique, and personal memorial painting. Oil, acrylic, and Charcoal are popular choices for creating detailed and lifelike portraits.

Memorial paintings by Type

Memorial paintings can be classified by:

  1. The length of the painting,

  2. The pose in the painting, and 

  3. The number of people in the painting


We have covered in detail about types of portrait paintings in our earlier post. But for convenience, we are covering the main points you can keep in mind when commissioning a memorial portrait.

Based on the purpose and the placement of the memorial painting one can arrive at the size of the memorial portrait.

Selecting Images to Use for the Memorial Paintings & Portraits

The most important part of a memorial painting is the choice of image to make the painting. For memorial paintings, generally, frontal face view images are used. Other images can also be used like the side-face view or the head tilted slightly. Smiling imagery is better suited for memorial portraits, as they soften the look, compared to a stern-looking image.

For old photos, memorial paintings can also be black and white portraits or old photos can be turned into new colorful paintings depending on the taste and preferences of the clients. 

It should be kept in mind, that high-quality images will result in high-quality portrait painting. As high-quality resolution images enable the artist to see the finer details of the face. If a high-quality image is unavailable, a lower-quality image may be used. Our artist can also use old blurry pics to make memorial paintings. For such images, it is best to share the image with us first, before placing the order. 

Memorial Paintings for Offices, Public Institutions, & Corporates:

For Institutions, public offices, and corporates, we recommend large-size memorial paintings. The large size memorial portrait conveys a sense of larger than life personality of the subject and is considerably more impactful. Large sizes can be anything over 48 inches x 36 inches. Ideally around 60 inches x 40 inches or 72 inches x 48 inches or bigger. The advice is especially recommended if the memorial portrait is to be placed in large halls, board rooms, and the main entrance to the premises. The pose itself can be a full-length portrait, half-length portrait, or quarter length depending on the need. And the availability of appropriate images of the subject.

M.G. George Muthoot memorial painting, memorial oil painting from photo, M.G George Muthoot paintingShri M.G. George Muthoot of Muthoot Group Memorial Painting

(Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)


Memorial Portraits for Homes

For private homes, the size requirement depends on where the memorial painting will be hung. For large halls, staircases, and drawing rooms, we recommend a large or medium size memorial portrait. If the portrait will be used as a desktop painting, then a smaller size is recommended.

Memorial painting of Mother, black and white photo to color painting, painting from photo, Memorial oil painting of Mother from an Old Blurry Black and White Photo 

(Image Credits: Paintphotographs.com)



Memorial paintings are a unique way to honor and cherish the memories of those who have passed away. Memorial artworks provide comfort and solace to those who have lost a loved one. And help to preserve their relationship with the deceased. The process of creating the memorial painting can be therapeutic. Providing a way to deal with their loss and bereavement. And express their emotions and memories of the deceased.

Memorial paintings serve as a reminder of the deceased. Preserving their memory and legacy for future generations. They act to preserve the relationship between the deceased loved one and someone who commissioned the painting. Memorial art functions as a bridge between the past and the present. Helping to preserve the memories and emotions associated with the deceased. Memorial paintings can leave a profound emotional impact. providing comfort and healing for those who have experienced loss. And is a wise choice for a bereavement gift.

If you wish to order a custom handmade oil portrait painting or an oil painting you can visit our order now page. Custom handmade oil portrait paintings make for memorable gifts like a wedding portrait painting or an engagement portrait or birthday portrait painting or a housewarming gift. Our talented artists can also create composite oil painting portraits from two or more reference photos and pics. Similarly, we can also create pet portrait paintings or create new portrait paintings from blurry old black-and-white photos.

To know the prices of our portrait paintings you can visit our pricing page. To see our work on portrait paintings you can visit our gallery pages. To connect with us ping us on our chat messenger on the website or ping us on Whatsapp or call us at 918291070650 or drop us an email at  support@paintphotographs.com 

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guide to memorial paintings guide to memorial portraits guide to commission a memorial painting