Vintage Portraits 101 (Free Prints and How To Style Them In Your Home)

Vintage portraits bring the most unique and eclectic vibe to a room. There is something so utterly fascinating about the fact that each painting was a real person, with a real story. I became obsessed with vintage portraits a few years ago and am constantly on the hunt for them, but the truth is they can be pricey. If you want to get the look of a vintage portrait without the high price tag, these 36 portrait FREE downloads are the best option.

free portrait prints

History of Vintage Art Portraits

Portrait painting has been popular throughout civilization, but there are several key time periods when it was very commonplace.

  • Ancient Civilizations: There are many examples of portrait art in ancient civilizations (Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc). These early portraits often depicted rulers, gods, and important figures, and having a painting of yourself was a sign of power or affluence.
  • The Renaissance (14th to 17th century) was a popular time for portrait painting. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Hans Holbein the Younger created iconic portraits of rulers, patrons, and influential figures. It was still very much a sign of power and affluence to have a painting of yourself done.
  • 18th and 19th Centuries: During this time portrait painting became very popular and much more commonplace. Portrait painting became more accessible, and artists like Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, and John Singer Sargent created elegant, intimate portraits that captured daily life, and personality and catered to those who were more middle class. Most of the art I source comes from this era.

Wouldn’t it be so cool if we kept the story and history of these individuals alive by preserving and displaying these portraits in our homes?!

Vintage Portrait Prints For Free

Last year, I created a gigantic collection of curated + FREE vintage art prints, available for download HERE.

100+ free prints
Free Vintage Art

This post went on to become so popular that I created several more galleries including a spring gallery and a winter gallery.

Vintage art is kind of my thing and I’m SO happy you all have been loving it too!

This gallery of vintage FREE downloads is specifically focused on portraits. I think this is my favorite gallery yet. These images have so much story behind them and create interest and curiosity anywhere they are used!

Best Places To Find Affordable Art

Art can be PRICEY. I am a very down-to-earth art connoisseur. I may not know every detail about art and painting styles, etc… But I DO know how to find AFFORDABLE art on a budget.

There are many affordable places to source art! Here are a few of my favorite places to find vintage collections of art:

  • Thrift Stores. Thrifting vintage art is my absolute favorite! I have sourced so many beautiful paintings from thrift stores and the best part is, they often are already framed in a gorgeous antique frame! This saves so much money.
  • Flea Markets. Flea markets are another great place to access some amazing pieces. It takes some digging, but often sellers at flea markets want to turn over inventory and may be open to offers on the art they sell!
  • Facebook marketplace. Always my top go-to before I purchase anywhere… So many art sellers sell on FB marketplace and now with shipping options, you can even order art from out of state!
  • Estate Sales: My newest obsession! There are literally hundreds and hundreds of online estate sales going on right now that offer art at very affordable prices. The bidding process takes a while to get the hang of, but once you master it, you can find amazing art at great prices.

Where can I find free vintage images?

Thankfully, you don’t have to go to an art auction and pay top dollar to get the vintage art look you love. There are so many places where you can find free vintage art prints and digital downloads of non-copyrighted works of art. Here are a few of the places I source art prints for my home!

As I’ve shared in my other art posts, these websites are part of what is called The Public Domain. The public domain is simply a collection of art that does not have copyright protection! Meaning, you can access these free images in the form of instant downloads in high resolution without violating any copyright laws!

Skip The Hassle of Searching For Art:

It can be overwhelming and time-consuming to search through giant online galleries to find what you’re looking for!

Thankfully, I’ve made this super easy for you by creating curated art galleries right here!

vintage art portraits

Access My Free Vintage Art Portraits Collection now!

Here is my exclusive curated collection of over 30 vintage art portraits. Simply click on the image you want and it will bring you to it’s PDF page. Then, click the download icon to get your Free art!

How to Download and Resize Free Printables

It is so easy to download free art online. If you aren’t tech-savvy or aren’t quite sure how to resize and print these images, here are my top tips!

  1. Select the image you want, and hit download!
  2. Log in to Canva. I use Canva to resize my images. If you don’t have a Canva account, don’t worry! It’s SO easy to create a free account. Canva lets you create a custom-size download. This is the easiest way to resize an image in high resolution.
canva art print

6. Once you log onto Canva, select “create a design”, then at the bottom of the pop-up window is a “custom size” option. I like to resize it to 8×10 in. If I need a different size, I go back in later and adjust.

7. After your download is resized correctly, it’s time to print!

The Best Way To Print Free Vintage Art

Here are the best ways to print your beautiful vintage art portraits:

  • For smaller images (8×10, 5×7, 4×6) I print on my home printer! I like to use either good-quality card stock or watercolor paper. These options provide the best look of authentic art. You almost can’t tell they are downloads!
  • For larger images, I like to print at Staples Print Center. There are so many places you can print these images though. Walgreens, Shutterfly, or even a local print shop are all great options!
  • To create a very authentic look, try getting a vintage art download printed on canvas! Canvas prints look so real and allow you to display your art in so many beautiful ways! Water color paper is another great option.

The Best Way to Display Vintage Art Portraits in Your Home

When it comes to displaying vintage pictures in your home, the possibilities are endless! Here are a few of my favorite ways to display vintage art printables:

  • In a Gallery Wall. Create a beautiful vintage art gallery wall! Find multiple images with similar art styles and download in various sizes. You can purchase frames that match or try an eclectic mixed look!
  • Display on your Frame TV.
  • As a large-scale accent wall piece.
  • In picture frames on shelves in the living room or office. (Really wherever you have shelves that need styling… These art prints are great space fillers!)

Turn Your FREE Print into a Faux Vintage Oil Painting!

diy oil painting

Check out my quick and easy hack to make my vintage prints look like an old oil painting. Seriously, it works!

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