For elite early modern sitters, portraits were a valued means of constructing a public image, securing a spouse, memorializing the dead, and emphasizing political and dynastic relationships. Taking as our point of departure period notions of likeness, otherness, and verisimilitude, we will investigate the problems of portrayal through various thematic subgenres as they alter and re-imagine themselves over the course of five centuries. Inasmuch as the idealized presentation of conventional, Petrarchan, i.e. white, feminine beauty is one of portraiture’s tacit tropes, we will ask how contemporary notions of gender and race—of sexual difference, physiognomy, performance, self-display, and skin-color, among other variables—inflect representation, identity, and artistic choice. Independent research will culminate in a scholarly paper and short presentation.