The Biography Portal


A biography is a detailed description or account of someone's life. More than a list of basic facts (education, work, relationships, and death), a biography also portrays a subject's experience of these events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae ( résumé), a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of a subject's personality.

Biographical works are usually non-fiction, but fiction can also be used to portray a person's life. One in-depth form of biographical coverage is called legacy writing. Biographical works in diverse media—from literature to film—form the genre known as biography.

An authorized biography is written with the permission, cooperation, and, at times, participation of a subject or a subject's heirs.

An autobiography is about a life of a subject, written by that subject or sometimes with a collaborator.

More about biographies…

Featured biography

Portrait of Skanderbeg in the Uffizi, Florence
George Kastrioti Skanderbeg (6 May 1405 – 17 January 1468), widely known as Skanderbeg (from Turkish: İskender Bey), was a 15th-century Albanian lord. He was appointed as the governor of the Sanjak of Dibra by the Ottomans in 1440. In 1444, he initiated and organised the League of Lezhë and defended the region of Albania against the Ottoman Empire for more than two decades. Skanderbeg's military skills presented a major obstacle to Ottoman expansion, and he was considered by many in western Europe to be a model of resistance against the Ottoman Muslims. Skanderbeg is Albania's most important national hero and a core figure of the Albanian National Awakening. Skanderbeg was born in 1405 to the noble Kastrioti family, in the Shëgjerth neighborhood of Sinë, a village in Dibra. Sultan Murad II took him hostage during his youth and he fought for the Ottoman Empire as a general. In 1443, he deserted the Ottomans during the Battle of Niš and became the ruler of Krujë. In 1444, he organized local leaders into the League of Lezhë, a federation aimed at uniting their forces for war against the Ottomans. Skanderbeg's first victory against the Ottomans, at the Battle of Torvioll in the same year marked the beginning of more than 20 years of war with the Ottomans. Skanderbeg's forces achieved more than 20 victories in the field and withstood three sieges of his capital, Krujë.

In 1451 he recognized himself as a vassal of the Kingdom of Naples through the Treaty of Gaeta, to ensure a protective alliance. In 1460–1461, he participated in Italy's civil wars in support of Ferdinand I of Naples. In 1463, he became the chief commander of the crusading forces of pope Pius II, but the pope died while the armies were still gathering. Left alone to fight the Ottomans, Skanderbeg did so until he died in January 1468.

Marin Barleti's biography of Skanderbeg, written in Latin and in a Renaissance and panegyric style, was translated into all the major languages of Western Europe from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Such translations inspired an opera by Vivaldi, and literary creations by eminent writers such as playwrights William Havard and George Lillo, French poet Ronsard, English poet Byron, and American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. ( Read more...)

Selected portrait

Raden Saleh.jpg
Credit: Raden Saleh or Friedrich Carl Albert Schreuel (authorship disputed)

Raden Saleh Sjarif Boestaman (1807 or 1811 – April 23, 1880) is one of the best known painters from Indonesia and a master of advanced Indonesian art. He was considered to be the first modern artist from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and his paintings corresponded with nineteenth-century romanticism, which was popular in Europe at the time.

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"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence."

David Hume

In Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding, 1748

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