Family portraits are few people's idea of fun, and judging by the expressions on the faces of the familial sitters in these group paintings, that's always been the case.

Family is such a universal thing that it's hardly surprising that the family portrait has been taken on by the artistic greats - from Monet to Picasso and Gainsborough to Renoir, people with shared bloodlines have been immortalised on canvas for centuries.

family Picasso's painting shows a family at breakfast


What's interesting about these portraits, however, is that they are as different as the families within them. We chose these paintings not because of the artists who created them, nor the prestige of the sitters who inspired them. But instead, because they all showed a different interesting aspect of family life - from strength, to shock and raw maternal love.

What do you think? Have we missed out one of your favourite family portraits?

Loading Slideshow...
  • Hilda Welcomed (1953)

    Stanley Spencer IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/hilda-welcomed-stanley-spencer/in/tag.family/">Artfinder.com</a> © Ferens Art Gallery / The Estate of Stanley Spencer 2012. All rights reserved DACS.

  • The Third Class Carriage (19th century)

    Honoré Daumier IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/the-third-class-carriage-honore-daumier/in/tag.family/">Artfinder</a> / © Bridgeman Art Library / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

  • The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882)

    John Singer Sargent IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/search/?q=The+Daughters+of+Edward+Darley+Boit">Artfinder</a> / © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved.

  • Young Mother (1944-5)

    William H. Johnson IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/young-mother-william-h-johnson/in/tag.family/">Artfinder</a> / © Smithsonian American Art Museum

  • Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe de la Famille Soler (1903)

    Pablo Picasso IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/le-dejeuner-sur-lherbe-de-la-famille-soler-pablo-picasso/in/tag.family/">Artfinder</a> / © Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Liege, Belgium / Bridgeman Art Library / Succession Picasso / DACS, London 2012

  • Unexpected Return (1888)

    Ilya Efimovich Repin IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/unexpected-ilya-efimovich-repin/in/tag.family/">Artfinder </a> / © Bridgeman Art Library / Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

  • Second Class - The Parting (1854)

    Abraham Solomon IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/second-class-the-parting-abraham-solomon/in/tag.family/">Artfinder</a> / © Bridgeman Art Library / National Gallery of Australia, Canberra / Purchased 1981

  • Lonnie Donegan by Harry Hammond (1960s)

    Harry Hammond IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/lonnie-donegan-harry-hammond/in/tag.family/">Artfinder</a> / © Victoria and Albert Museum / V&A Prints

  • Madame Andre Wormser and her Children (1926)

    Édouard Vuillard IMAGE: <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/madame-andre-wormser-and-her-children-jean-edouard-vuillard/in/tag.family/">Artfinder</a> / © Copyright The National Gallery 2011

  • The Painter's Daughters with a Cat (18th century)

    Thomas Gainsborough IMAGE:<a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/the-painters-daughters-with-a-cat-thomas-gainsborough/in/tag.family/"> Artfinder</a> / © Copyright The National Gallery 2011