Until photographers relieved portraitists of their reportorial duties, it was their job to be plastic surgeons to the rich and famous. Artists finished off what powerful people imagined or dreamt that they saw in their mirrors. Today the assignment's handled by guys in smocks wielding scalpels instead of brushes. And portraits are done with lenses aimed at meticulously lit and painted subjects, through gauzy filters to create monitor images where imperfections can be replaced with subtle perfections. Surgeries happen under brush and knife to finish what nature couldn't.
And the artists? They've been liberated to deal with pure form. They can take their golds and cyans to create glittery glassy abstracts in paint or pixels... or both.