Shutterstock Acquires Iconic Imagery from The Art Archive, a collection of archival art images dating back 5,000 years

Art has been around almost as long as humans, meaning the purview of art history spans several thousand millennias. In that time humans have explored endless materials, mediums, and subjects for art, but one form in particular has persisted — portraiture. Whether it’s a jagged sketch on a cave wall, a marble bust, or a grand oil painting, artists have endeavored to portray the faces around them. This history of faces, catalogued in The Art Archive, lets us see humanity through myriad eyes, from ancient civilizations to modern masters. We’ve chosen 13 famous portraits from the collection — how many do you recognize?

Today we’re excited to announce the acquisition of over 700,000 images from two prominent photo collections: The Art Archive and The Kobal Collection. Both collections, are now available to Shutterstock Premier customers.

The Art Archive is a rare and extensive selection of expertly photographed images gathered over many years from the world’s leading fine art galleries, museums, and private collections.  The artistic breadth of the collection includes thousands of years’ worth of ancient civilizations, paintings, historical figures, architecture, religion and science. Covering every aspect of the creative arts and world culture from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back to 2500 BC to Buzz Aldrin’s first steps on the moon in the 20th century, the famous and the infamous are all represented in this collection.

Learn more about Kobal Collection here and the Art Archive here.

Scroll through these 13 faces to see how representation of the human face has transformed through millennia of artistic periods.

Awibre Hor, Egyptian pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty

This ka statue was created c.1700 BC to provide a resting place for the Pharaoh after death. It was found in Dahshur, an enormous ancient Egyptian cemetery for royalty. [ The Art Archive / Egyptian Museum Cairo / Dagli Orti (A) ]

Ushabti Figurine of Tutankhamun

This ushabti figurine, constructed c. 1332-22 BC, is a funerary figurine designed to accompany the deceased Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen into various levels of paradise. [ The Art Archive / Luxor Museum, Egypt / Dagli Orti ]

“Medusa” by Caravaggio

An oil on canvas painting mounted on wood, representing the fabled monster of Greek mythology. 1598. [ The Art Archive / Galleria degli Uffizi Florence / Alfredo Dagli Orti ]

Head of Medusa

Another head of Medusa, this time in bronze gilt from the excavated temple of Asclepius, 2nd-3drd century. [ The Art Archive / Muzeul de Sarmezegetusa Romania / Dagli Orti ]

Bust of Louis XIV by Bernini

This dramatic marble bust was commissioned by Louis XIV of France in 1665, and took Bernini over three months to carve. [ The Art Archive / MusŽe du Ch‰teau de Versailles / Dagli Orti ]

Uli Sculpture

This 18th-early 19th century sculpted face is part of the tradition of Uli figures from New Ireland in Papua New Guinea, which were customarily imparted with the spirit of a deceased chief. [ The Art Archive / MusŽe du Quai Branly Paris / Dagli Orti ]

Ukiyo-e Portrait of an Actor

Japanese woodblock prints, like this portrait of a kabuki actor, were popular in the 19th century as representations of the flourishing entertainment culture in modern Japan, known as ukiyo, or “floating world.” [ The Art Archive / Bibliothque des Arts DŽcoratifs Paris / Dagli Orti ]

Buddha protected by the Naga

This sandstone statue, carved between the late 12th-early 13th century, depicts the Buddha protected by a great cobra as he achieves enlightenment. Though the heads of the snake have broken off this statue, this form of Buddha art remains one of the rarest that can be found. [ The Art Archive / MusŽe Guimet Paris / Dagli Orti ]

Head of Sphinx

This painted stucco head of the Sphinx, from 14th-13th century BC Mycenae, Greece, represents a Mycenaean interpretation of this mythical creature with Egyptian roots. [ The Art Archive / National Archaeological Museum Athens / Dagli Orti ]

Colossal Head No. 6

This giant head is one of at least 17 monumental sculptures carved from boulders by the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica c. 1000-600 BC. [ The Art Archive / National Anthropological Museum Mexico / Gianni Dagli Orti ]

Man’s head with open mouth

This ceramic vessel was carved by the ancient Mochica peoples of Peru c. 200 BC – 700 AD. This civilization had immense potting talents, and created thousands of similar portrait head vessels. [ The Art Archive / Archaeological Museum Lima / Dagli Orti ]

“Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo and Her Son” by Bronzino

Eleanor of Toledo was the wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. In this ca. 1545 Mannerist style painting, she poses with her son in a dress of pomegranate motifs, both symbolic of her role as mother. [ The Art Archive / Galleria degli Uffizi Florence / Alfredo Dagli Orti ]

“The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli

This close up on the iconic renaissance painting features Greek God of the West Wind Zephyrus carrying the nymph Chloris and blowing the wind to guide Venus. c. 1485. [ The Art Archive / Galleria degli Uffizi Florence / Dagli Orti (A) ]