Portraiture (= ritrattistica) has always been a very famous and important form of art in England, since the Renaissance. The Protestant Reformation had caused a declined interest in religious images and a stable monarchy with a powerful aristocracy made of landowners had provided forms of patronage (= mecenatismo) . The portrait miniature increased (= aumentarono) and portraits were painted with large interiors as a backgrounds to give the idea of familiar and political tranquillity.
Among the most distinguished portrait painters in Tudor times were Hans Holbein the Younger of Augsburg (1497-1543); Nicholas Hilliard (1547 –1619); Samuel Cooper (1608-1672); John Hoskins (died 1664), Anthony van Dyck (1599 –1641), and Peter Lely (1618 –1680). From all of them we can understand fashion and social behaviours (= comportamenti sociali)of the period.