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A self-portrait is a representation of an artist, drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by the artist. Although self-portraits have been made by artists since the earliest times, it is not until the Early Renaissance in the mid 1400s that artists can be frequently identified depicting themselves as either the main subject, or as important characters in their work. With better and cheaper mirrors, and the advent of the panel portrait, many painters, sculptors and printmakers tried some form of self-portraiture. The probable example by Jan van Eyck of 1433 is the earliest known panel self-portrait. He painted a separate portrait of his wife, and he belonged to the social group that had begun to commission portraits, already more common among wealthy Netherlanders than south of the Alps. The genre is venerable, but not until the Renaissance, with increased wealth and interest in the individual as a subject, did it become truly popular.

Types of self-portrait

A self-portrait may be a portrait of the artist, or a portrait included in a larger work, including a group portrait. Many painters are said to have included depictions of specific individuals, including themselves, in painting figures in religious or other types of composition not intended to depict the actual persons as themselves. Often these are just faces in a crowd, often at the corner of the work, but a particular hybrid genre developed where historical scenes were depicted using a number of actual persons as models, often including the artist, giving the work a double function as portrait and history painting. Rubens and Rembrandt painted such scenesThis culminated in the seventeenth century with the work of Jan de Bray, and has been revived in recent years in photography by Cindy Sherman. Many artistic media have been used; apart from paintings, drawings and prints have been especially important.

Sometimes artists place their own image into group portraits, such as (probably) Jan van Eyck in the Arnolfini Portrait, who inspired Diego Velázquez in Las Meninas. Later group portraits of family, friends or professional groups became common.

Gallery: Inserted self-portraits

Image:Sandro Botticelli 085.jpg|Sandro Botticelli's painting of the Adoration of the Magi has an "inserted self-portrait". The position in the (right) corner, and the gaze out to the viewer, are very typical of such self-portraits.Image:Masaccio Self Portrait.jpg|Masaccio inserted self-portrait from the Brancacci Chapelmarker frescoes (as is the Filippino Lippi), 1424-6.Image:Resurrection detail.JPG|Piero della Francesca as a sleeping soldier in his Resurrection, 1463, fresco, Sansepolcro.Image:Filippino Lippi 007.jpg|Filippino Lippi as a figure in his Martyrdom of Saint Peter, fresco, 1481-82, Brancacci Chapelmarker , Florence. He is at the extreme right of a crowded composition.

Women painters

Women artists are notable producers of self-portraits; almost all significant women painters have left an example, from Caterina van Hemessen to the prolific Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and Frida Kahlo. Vigée-Lebrun painted a total of 37 self-portraits, many of which were copies of earlier ones, painted for sale. Women were usually unable to train in drawing the nude, which made it difficult for them to paint large figure compositions, and portraiture was a common specialism. Until the nineteenth century, they usually showed themselves in the act of painting, or at least holding a brush and palette. More often than with men, the viewer wonders if the clothes worn were those they normally painted in.

Image:Hemessen-Selbstbildnis.jpg|Caterina van Hemessen, 1548, perhaps the oldest self-portrait of a female oil-painter, though much earlier examples of manuscript painters exist.Image:SofonisbaAuto.jpg|Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1532 - 1625) of Cremonamarker served as court painter to the Queen of Spain, and painted several self-portraits and many images of her family. c.1556Image:ArtemisiaSelfP.jpg|Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, circa 1630, Royal collection Windsormarker. Note the pulled-up sleeve on the arm holding the brush.Image:Judith Leyster Self Portrait.jpg|Judith Leyster, a painter of genre subjects, who surely did not normally dress like this to paint. NGA, 1630.Image:Angelica Kauffmann 006.jpg|Angelica Kauffmann, self-portrait, 1780-1785, a successful painter in her time, she was a great friend of Sir Joshua Reynolds.Image:Labille-Guiard, Self-portrait with two pupils.jpg|Adelaide Labille-Guiard, 1785, with two pupils. A "subjects-eye" view of the painter at work. It seems likely that women society portraitists did actually paint wearing fashionable clothes like this.Image:Vigee-Lebrun1782.jpg|Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun painted several self-portraits that were hugely successful in the Paris Salons, and was influential in pioneering an "informal" fashion style at the end of the Ancien Regime. At 22, 1782.Image:Villers Young Woman Drawing.jpg|Marie-Denise Villers, Young Woman Drawing, 1801, thought to be her self-portrait, and her most famous and finest painting. Originally attributed to Jacques-Louis David.Image:Marie Ellenrieder Selbstbildnis 1819.jpg|Marie Ellenrieder, self portrait, 1819. A German religious artist and the first woman to enter the Academy of Munich.Image:Mary Cassatt-Selfportrait.jpg|Mary Cassatt was an American portrait painter who specialised in portraits of women and children, 1878.Image:Bashkirtseff.jpg|Marie Bashkirtseff self-portrait, 1880 was a Russian born artist who died at twenty-five. A large number of Bashkirtseff's works were destroyed by the Nazis during World War IIImage:Gwen John - Self-Portrait.jpg|Gwen John (1902) also mostly painted women and children.


Images of artists at work are encountered in Ancient Egyptian painting, and sculpture and also on Ancient Greek vases. One of first self-portraits was made by the Pharaoh Akhenaten's chief sculptor Bak in 1365 BC. Plutarch mentions that the Ancient Greek sculptor Phidias had included a likeness of himself in a number of characters in the "Battle of the Amazons" on the Parthenonmarker, and there are classical references to painted self-portraits, none of which have survived.


Portraits and self-portraits have a longer continuous history in Asian art than in Europe. Many in the scholar gentleman tradition are quite small, depicting the artist in a large landscape, illustrating a poem in calligraphy on his experience of the scene. Another tradition, associated with Zen Buddhism, produced lively semi-caricatured self-portraits, whilst others remain closer to the conventions of the formal portrait.Image:P03jigazou.jpg|Miyamoto Musashi, Samurai, writer and artist, c. 1640.Image:Hakuin Ekaku.jpg|Hakuin Ekaku was a Zen monk, who painted many self-portraits of himself as sages of the past, 1764, Tokyo.Image:Motoori Norinaga self portrait.jpg|Motoori Norinaga, late 18th century, JapanmarkerImage:Hokusai selfportrait.jpg|Hokusai, early 19th century, JapanImage:Hokusai portrait.jpg|Another Hokusai, LouvremarkerImage:Yosai-Kikuchi.jpg|Kikuchi Yōsai, 1856-7, Japan.Image:Chen hongshou selfportrait,1635.jpg|Chen Hongshou, China, 1635Image:Ren Xiong Self Portrait.jpeg|Ren Xiong, a member of the Shanghai school, c.1850

European art

Illuminated manuscripts contain a number of apparent self-portraits, notably those of Saint Dunstan and Matthew Paris. Most of these either show the artist at work, or presenting the finished book to either a donor or a sacred figure, or venerating such a figure.Orcagna is believed to have painted himself as a figure in a fresco of 1359, which became, at least according to art historians - Vasari records a number of such traditions- a common practice of artists. However for earlier artists, with no other portrait to compare to, these descriptions are necessarily rather speculative. In Italy Giotto di Bondone (1267—1337) included himself in the cycle of "eminent men" in the Castle of Naples, Masaccio (1401—1428) depicted himself as one of the apostles in the painting of the Brancacci Chapelmarker, and Benozzo Gozzoli includes himself, with other portraits, in the Palazzo Medicimarker Procession of the Magi (1459), with his name written on his hat. This is imitated a few years later by Sandro Botticelli, as a spectator of the Adoration of the Magi, who turns from the scene to look at us. (1475).Fourteenth century sculpted portrait busts of and by the Parler family in Prague Cathedral include self-portraits, and are among the earliest such busts of non-royal figues. Ghiberti included a small head of himself in his most famous work.Notably, the earliest self-portrait painted in England, other than in a manuscript, is the miniature painted in oils on panel by the German artist Gerlach Flicke, 1554.Image:DunstanLarge.jpg|Saint Dunstan, then artist-Abbot of Glastonbury, prostrates himself before a giant Christ. Later he became Archbishop of Canterbury. c. 950 (cropped at bottom).Image:Peter parler.jpg|Peter Parler, late fourteenth century, from Prague Cathedral, where he was master architect and sculptor.Image:Ghiberti.png|Lorenzo Ghiberti on the Gates of Paradise, Baptisterio, Florencemarker self portrait, early 15th centuryImage:Jan van Eyck 091.jpg|Jan van Eyck, 1433, generally regarded as a self-portrait, which would make it the earliest Western panel portrait after antiquity.Image:Weyden madonna 1440.jpg|Rogier van der Weyden, as Saint Luke, makes a drawing for his painting of the Virgin. Boston, c. 1440.Image:Jean Fouquet.png|Jean Fouquet, c. 1450, a very early portrait miniature, and if the Van Eyck above is excluded, the oldest individual Western painted self-portrait.Image:Andrea Mantegna 084.jpg|Andrea Mantegna, c. 1474, includes himself (as himself) in his appropriate place in this fresco of the Gonzaga court.Image:Meckenem.jpg|Israhel van Meckenem and his wife, engraving c. 1490, the earliest portrait print.

Albrecht Dürer, 1471–1528, the first prolific self-portraitist

Albrecht Dürer was an artist highly conscious of his public image and reputation, whose main income came from his old master prints, all containing his famous monogram, which were sold throughout Europe. He probably depicted himself more often than any artist before him, producing at least twelve images, including three oil portraits, and figures in four altarpieces. The earliest is a superb silverpoint drawing created when he was thirteen years old. At twenty-two Dürer painted the Self-portrait with Carnation (1493, Louvremarker), probably to send to his new fiancée. The Madrid self-portrait (1498, Pradomarker) depicts Dürer as a dandy in fashionable Italian dress, reflecting the international success he had achieved by then. In his last self-portrait, sold or given to the city of Nurembergmarker, and displayed publicly, which very few portraits then were, the artist depicted himself with an unmistakable resemblance to Jesus Christ (Munich, Alte Pinakothekmarker). He later re-used the face in a religious engraving of, revealingly, the Veil of Veronica, Christ's own "self-portrait" (B.25). A self-portrait in gouache he sent to Raphael has not survived. A woodcut of a bathhouse and a drawing show virtually-nude self-portraits.

Image:Durer-self-portrait-at-the-age-of-thirteen.jpg| Dürer at thirteen, silverpoint, Albertinamarker, 1484Image:Self-portrait-with-a-pillow-1103-mid.jpg| Dürer at about twenty, 1491–92, drawing, MetropolitanImage:Albrecht-self.jpg| Dürer, 1493, oil, originally on vellum, The Louvremarker, ParismarkerImage:Durer self portarit 28.jpg| Dürer's last self-portrait, 1500—unmistakably Christ-like

Renaissance and Baroque

The great Italian painters of the Renaissance made comparatively few formal painted self-portraits, but often included themselves in larger works. Most individual self-portraits they have left were straight-forward depictions; Dürer's showmanship was rarely followed, although a controversially attributed Self-portrait as David by Giorgione would have something of the same spirit, if it is a self-portrait. There is a portrait by Pietro Perugino of about 1500 (Collegio del Cambio of Perugiamarker), and one by the young Parmigianino showing the view in a convex mirror. There is also a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci (1512)., and self-portraits in larger works by Michelangelo, who gave his face to the skin of St. Bartholomew in the Last Judgement of the Sistine Chapelmarker (1536-1541), and Raphael who is seen in the characters of School of Athens 1510, or with a friend who holds his shoulder (1518). Also notable are two portraits of Titian as an old man in the 1560s. Paolo Veronese appears as a violinist clothed in white in his Marriage at Cana, accompanied by Titian on the bass viol (1562). Northern artists continued to make more individual portraits, often looking very much like their other bourgeois sitters.

Titian's Allegory of Prudence (c. 1565-70) is thought to depict Titian, his son Orazio, and a young cousin, Marco Vecellio. Titian also painted a late self-portrait in 1567; apparently his first. Caravaggio painted himself in Bacchus at the beginning of his career, then appears in the staffage of some of his larger paintings. Finally, the head of Goliath held by David (1605-10, Galleria Borghesemarker) is Caravaggio's own.

Image:Bellini selfportrait.jpg|Gentile Bellini, black chalk, 1496 or earlier, BerlinImage:Adam Kraft.jpg|Nurembergmarker sculptor Adam Kraft, self-portrait from St Lorenz Church, 1490s.Image:Possible Self-Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.jpg|Probable self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1512-1515Image:Nicholas Hilliard 021.jpg|Nicholas Hilliard, self-portrait miniature, 1577

Rembrandt and the 17th century in Northern Europe

In the 17th century, Flemish and Dutch artists painted themselves far more often; by this date most successful artists had a position in society where a member of any trade would consider having their portrait painted. Very many also painted their wives and families, again following the normal practice for the middle-classes. Anthony Van Dyck and Peter Paul Rubens gave us numerous images of themselves, the latter also often painting his family.

Rembrandt was the most frequent self-portraitist, at least until the self-obsessed modern period, also often painting his wife, son and mistress. At one time about ninety paintings were counted as Rembrandt self-portraits, but it is now known that he had his students copy his own self-portraits as part of their training. Modern scholarship has reduced the autograph count to something over forty paintings, as well as a few drawings and thirty-one etchings, which include many of the most remarkable images of the group. Many show him posing in quasi-historical fancy dress, or pulling faces at himself. His oil paintings trace the progress from an uncertain young man to the dapper and very successful portrait-painter of the 1630s to the troubled but massively powerful portraits of his old age.Image:Rembrandt auto 1627.jpg|A young Rembrandt, c. 1628, when he was 22. Partly an exercise in chiaroscuro. RijksmuseumImage:Rembrandt aux yeux hagards.jpg|Etching, c. 1630. Probably an exercise in capturing facial expressions for larger paintings.Image:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 144.jpg|Rembrandt in 1632, when he was enjoying great success as a fashionable portraitist in this style.Image:Rembrandtselfportraitweb.jpg|Role-playing in Self-portrait as an oriental Potentate with a Kris, etching, 1634.Image:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 129.jpg|1640, wearing a costume in the style of over a century earlier. National GalleryImage:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 132.jpg|Vienna c. 1655, oil on walnut, cut down in size.Image:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 130.jpg|Again in antique costume, 1658, Oil on canvas Frick Collectionmarker. His largest self-portrait, for which a new mirror may have been used.Image:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 135.jpg|Dated 1669, the year he died, though he looks much older in other portraits. National Gallerymarker

After Rembrandt

In Spain, there were self-portraits of Bartolomé Estéban Murillo and Diego Velázquez. Francisco de Zurbarán represented himself in Luke the Evangelist at the feet of Christ on the cross (around 1635). In the 1800s, Goya painted himself numerous times.French self-portraits, at least after Nicolas Poussin tend to show the social status of the artist, although Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and some other instead showed their real working costume very realistically. This was a decision all 18th century self-portraitists needed to make, although many painted themselves in both formal and informal costume in different paintings. Thereafter, one can say that most significant painters left us at least one self-portrait, even after the decline of the painted portrait with the arrival of photography. Gustave Courbet (see below) was perhaps the most creative self-portraitist of the 19th century, and The Artist's studio and Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet are perhaps the largest self-portraits ever painted. Both contain many figures, but are firmly centred on the heroic figure of the artist.

Prolific modern self-portraitists

One of the most famous and most prolific of self-portraitists was Vincent van Gogh, who painted himself thirty-seven times between 1886 and 1889. In all of these self-portraits one is struck that the gaze of the painter is seldom directed at us; even when it is a fixed gaze, he seems to look elsewhere. These paintings vary in intensity and color and some portray the artist with bandages; representing the episode in which he severed one of his ears.

The many self-portraits of Egon Schiele set new standards of openness, or perhaps exhibitionism, representing him naked in many positions, sometimes masturbating or erect as in Eros (1911), with an enormous red erect penis. Stanley Spencer was to follow somewhat in this vein. Edvard Munch made great numbers of self-portrait paintings (70), prints (20) and drawings or watercolours (over 100) throughout his life, many showing him being badly treated by life, and especially by women. Frida Kahlo, who following a terrible accident spent many years bedridden, with only herself for a model, was another painter whose self-portraits depict great pain, in her case physical as well as mental. Her 55-odd self-portraits include many of herself from the waist up, and also some nightmarish representations which symbolize her physical sufferings.

Throughout his long career Pablo Picasso often used self-portraits to depict himself in the many different guises, disguises and incarnations of his autobiographical artistic persona. From the young unknown "Yo Picasso" period to the "Minotaur in the Labyrinth" period, to the "old Cavalier" and the "lecherous old artist and model" periods. Often Picasso's self portraits depicted and revealed complicated psychological insights, both personal and profound about the inner state and well being of the artist. Another artist who painted interestingly personal and revealing self-portraits throughout his career was Pierre Bonnard. Bonnard also painted dozens of portraits of his wife Marthe throughout her life as well. Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Egon Schiele in particular made intense and self-revealing self-portrait paintings throughout their careers.

Self-portraits in general

Gallery:painters at work

Many of the medieval portraits show the artist at work, and Jan van Eyck (above) his chaperon hat has the parts normally hanging loose tied up on his head, giving the misleading impression he is wearing a turban, presumably for convenience whilst he paints. In the early modern period, increasingly, men as well as women who painted themselves at work had to choose whether to present themselves in their best clothes, and best room, or to depict studio practice realistically. See also the Gallery of Women painters above.Image:BruegelPortrait.jpg|Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Painter and The Buyer, c.1565, pen and ink on brown paper, presumed to be a self-portrait. AntwerpImage:Mignard-autoportrait.jpg|Pierre Mignard, 1690, Louvremarker.Image:Francesco Solimena 001.jpg|Francesco Solimena, c. 1715.Image:François Boucher 003.jpg|François Boucher, self-portrait in the studio, 1720Image:Sir Joshua Reynolds 012.jpg|Joshua Reynolds, National Portrait Gallerymarker, 1748. The artist as visionary. Much cut down, this originally had a vertical format.Image:George Desmarées 001.jpg|George Desmarées and his daughter, 1750, Munich.Image:Fragonard, Inspiration.jpg|Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Inspiration Self-Portrait, 1769Image:Chardin pastel selfportrait.jpg|Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1771), in his painting clothes.Image:Francisco de Goya y Lucientes 100 c.JPG|Goya, 1795,Image:Courbet studio.gif|The huge The Painter's Studio, A Real Allegory Summarizing My Seven years of Life as an Artist, Gustave Courbet, 1855, LouvremarkerImage:Carl Ludwig Jessen Selbstporträt.jpg|The Danish artist Carl Ludwig Jessen, 1857Image:Malczewski_Jacek_Autoportret_z_paleta.jpg|Jacek Malczewski, Polishmarker Symbolist painter,|Julian Fałat, Polishmarker landscape painter and impressionist, 1896Image:Självporträtt av Anders Zorn 1896.jpg|Anders Zorn, Selfportrait with model, 1896Image:Umberto-Boccioni.jpg|Umberto Boccioni, Self-portrait, 1906File:Lawrence Jacob Self-Portrait 1977.jpg|Jacob Lawrence, Self-portrait, 1977


Art critic Galina Vasilyeva-Shlyapina separates two basic forms of the self-portrait: "professional" portraits, in which the artist is depicted at work, and "personal" portraits, which reveal moral and psychological features. She also proposes a more detailed taxonomy: (1) the "insertable" self-portrait, where the artist inserts his or her own portrait into, for example, a group of characters related to some subject; (2) the "prestigious, or symbolic" self-portrait, where an artist depicts him- or herself in the guise of a historical person or religious hero; (3) the "group portrait" where artist is depicted with members of family or other real persons; (4) the "separate or natural" self-portrait, where the artist is depicted alone. However it might be thought these classes are rather rigid; many portraits manage to combine several of them.

Mirrors and poses

The self-portrait supposes in theory the use of a mirror; glass mirrors became available in Europe in the 15th century. The first mirrors used were convex, introducing deformations that the artist sometimes preserved. A painting by Parmigianino in 1524 Self-portrait in a mirror, demonstrates the phenomenon. Mirrors permit surprising compositions like the Triple self-portrait by Johannes Gumpp (1646), or more recently that of Salvador Dalí shown from the back painting his wife, Gala (1972-73).This use of the mirror often results in right-handed painters representing themselves as left-handed (and vice versa). Usually the face painted is therefore a mirror image of that the rest of the world saw, unless two mirrors were used. Most of Rembrandt's self-portraits before 1660 show only one hand - the painting hand is left unpainted. He appears to have bought a larger mirror in about 1652, after which his self-portraits become larger. In 1658 a large mirror in a wood frame broke whilst being transported to his house; nonetheless, in this year he completed his Frick self-portrait, his largest.
The size of single-sheet mirrors was restricted until technical advances made in France in 1688 by Bernard Perrot. They also remained very fragile, and large ones were much more expensive pro-rata than small ones - the breakages were recut into small pieces. About 80 cms, or two and a half feet, seems to have been the maximum size until then - roughly the size of the palace mirror in Las Meninas (the convex mirror in the Arnolfini Portrait is considered by historians impractically large, one of Van Eyck's many cunning distortions of scale). Largely for this reason, most early self-portraits show painters at no more than half-length.

Self-portraits of the artist at work were, as mentioned above, the commonest form of medieval self-portrait, and these have continued to be popular, with a specially large number from the eighteenth century on. One particular type in the medieval and Renaissance periods was the artist shown as Saint Luke (patron saint of artists) painting the Virgin Mary. Many of these were presented to the local Guild of Saint Luke, to be placed in their chapel. A famous large view of the artist in his studio is The Painter's Studio by Gustave Courbet (1855), an immense "Allegory" of objects and characters amid which the painter sits.

Gallery:Mortality in the self-portrait

Image:Last judgement.jpg|Michelangelo Buonarroti, circa 1535-1541, Sistine Chapelmarker: The Last Judgment, Michelangelo as a limp skin hanging from the hand of St. Bartholomew.Image:Titian - Allegorie der Zeit.jpg|Allegory of Prudence, Titian, his son and the cousin he had virtually adopted, as Past, Present and Future. National Gallery, Londonmarker, late 1560s.Image:Self portrait, 1610.jpg|Sofonisba Anguissola, Self-portrait, 1610, aged 78, the last of her many self-portraits, though she was painted later by Van Dyck.Image:Caravaggiodavidborghese.jpg|Goliath in this late Caravaggio David with the head of Goliath is a self-portrait. 1605-10, Galleria Borghesemarker, Rome.Image:DebrayCleopatra.jpg|Jan de Bray (left) and his family pose as The Banquet of Anthony and Cleopatra. By the date of this second version of 1669, most of the models had died of the plague some years before.Image:Goya75.jpg|Goya at the age of 74, Self-portrait with Doctor Arrieta, 1820, Minneapolis.Image:Lovis Corinth 010.jpg|Lovis Corinth, 1896. Flesh and bone, life and death are contrasted here.Image:BellanySP.jpg|John Bellany Self-Portrait from 'The Addenbrookes Hospital Series', 1988, one of a series of self-portraits made after he had a liver transplant, covering his time in hospital.

Other meanings, storytelling

The self-portraits of many Contemporary artists and Modernists often are characterized by a strong sense of narrative, often but not strictly limited to vignettes from the artists life-story. Sometimes the narrative resembles fantasy, roleplaying and fiction. Besides Diego Velázquez, (in his painting Las Meninas), Rembrandt Van Rijn, Jan de Bray, Gustave Courbet, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin other artists whose self-portraits reveal complex narratives include Pierre Bonnard, Marc Chagall, Lucien Freud, Arshile Gorky, Alice Neel, Pablo Picasso, Lucas Samaras, Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and Gilbert and George.Image:Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1613); Cristofano Allori.jpg|Cristofano Allori, Judith with the Head of Holofernes, 1613. According to his biographer, the heads were those of the painter, his ex-lover, and her mother. Compare Caravaggio above.Image:Anthonyvandyckselfportrait.jpeg|Van Dyck with sunflower, representing his patronage by Charles I, whose medal he holds up to the flower. Or is Van Dyck the sun the flower turns to? 1633 or later.Image:PolierMartinWombwellZoffany.jpg|Johann Zoffany specialised in group portraits, often "conversation pieces" with gentle narrative content, and spent some years in India. c. 1786.Image:Gustave Courbet 010.jpg|Gustave Courbet, 1854, Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet. The artist has travelled to the South of France (in the vanishing coach), to meet the collector Alfred Bruyas, for whom this was painted. Virginia MFA


The self-portrait can be a very effective form of advertising for an artist, especially of course for a portrait painter. Dürer was not really interested in portraits commercially, but made good use of his extraordinary self-portraits to advertise himself as an artist, something he was very sophisticated in doing. Rembrandt made his living principally from portrait-painting during his most successful period, and like Van Dyck and Joshua Reynolds, many of his portraits were certainly intended to advertise his skills. With the advent of regular Academy shows, many artists tried to produce memorable self-portraits to make an impression on the artistic stage. A recent exhibition at the National Gallery, London, Rebels and Martyrs, did not shrink from the comic bathos that sometimes resulted. An example from the 21st century is Arnaud Prinstet, an otherwise little-known contemporary artist who has generated good amounts of publicity by undertaking to paint his self portrait every day.On the other hand, some artists depicted themselves very much as they did other clients.

Image:François Desportes 001.jpg|François Desportes, a specialist animal painter, Self-portrait as Hunter, 1699.Image:Maurice Quentin de La Tour 003.jpg|Maurice Quentin de La Tour, pastel, 1750-60.Image:Rebelscourbet.jpg|Gustave Courbet, Self Portrait (The Desperate Man), c. 1843.Image:William Orpen, Self-Portrait,.jpg|William Orpen, c. 1910

Diagnosing the self-portrait

Some artists who suffered neurological or physical diseases have left self-portraits of themselves that have allowed later physicians to attempt to analyze disruptions of mental processes; and many of these analyses have entered into the textbooks of neurology.

The self-portraits of artists who suffered mental illnesses, give a unique possibility to physicians for investigating self-perception in people with psychological, psychiatric or neurologic disturbances.

Russian sexologist Igor Kon in his article about masturbation notes that a habit of masturbating may be depicted in works of art, particularly paintings. So Austrian artist Egon Schiele depicted himself so occupied in one of his self-portraits. Kon observes that this painting does not portray pleasure from the masturbation, but a feeling of solitude. Creations of Schiele are analyzed by other researchers in terms of sexuality, and particularly pedophilia.


One of the most distinguished, and oldest, collections of self-portraits is in the Vasari Corridormarker of the Uffizi Gallerymarker in Florencemarker. It was originally the collection by the Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici in the second part of the 17th century and has been maintained and expanded until the present time. It is mostly not on view for general visitors, although some paintings are shown in the main galleries. Many famous artists have not been able to resist an invitation to donate a self-portrait to the collection. It comprises more than 200 portraits, in particular those of Pietro da Cortona, Charles Le Brun, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, and Marc Chagall. Other important collections are housed at the National Portrait Gallery marker in London (with various satellite outstations elsewhere), and the National Portrait Gallerymarker in Washington, D.C.marker.


Image:Autoportrait perugino.jpg|Pietro Perugino (c. 1500)Image:Sanzio 00.jpg|Raphael (c. 1517-1518)Image:Hans Baldung, Self-Portrait.jpg|Hans Baldung (1526)Image:Lucas Cranach d. Ä. 063.jpg|Lucas Cranach the Elder (1550)Image:Tizian 090.jpg|Titian seems to have painted no self-portraits until he was in old age, 1567Image:El greco.JPG|Probable self-portrait by El Greco, 1604.Image:Rubens self portrait.jpg|Peter Paul Rubens (1623)Image:Peter Paul Rubens 105.jpg|Rubens with his (first) wife, Munich, c. 1609Image:Francisco de Zurbarán autoportrait.jpg|Self-portrait of Francisco Zurbarán, as Saint Luke.

Detail of Saint Luke as a Painter Before the CrucifixionImage:SPSalvatorRosa.jpg|Salvator Rosa, 1640. "Of Silence and Speech, Silence is better" says the inscription.Image:Velazquez SelfPortrait1943.jpg|Diego Velazquez, Self-Portrait, 1643Image:Nicolas Poussin 078.jpg|Nicolas Poussin, Self-Portrait, 1650Image:Couplede bray.jpg|Jan de Bray and his wife as Ulysses and Penelope, 1668, a typical portrait historié.Image:Sir Joshua Reynolds 013.jpg|Joshua Reynolds, presented to the Royal Academymarker, of which he was first President. Rather like Rembrandt, but more successful. 1773Image:Goya Self-portrait.jpg|Francisco Goya, 1815 Oil on panel, Museo de la Real Academia de San Fernando, MadridmarkerImage:C W Peale - The Artist in His Museum.jpg|The Artist in His Museum, American artist Charles Willson Peale, 1822.Image:Eugene delacroix.jpg|Eugene Delacroix, 1837Image:Selbstbildnis_mit_schwarzem_Hund.jpg|Gustave Courbet (1842)Image:James Abbot McNeill Whistler 002.jpg|James McNeill Whistler, self-portrait, 1872Image:Camille Pissarro 040.jpg|Camille Pissarro, Self-portrait, 1873Image:Edouard Manet 060.jpg|Édouard Manet, Self-portrait with palette, 1879Image:Paul Cézanne 159.jpg|Paul Cézanne, 1880-1881 National Gallerymarker, LondonmarkerImage:Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 059.jpg|Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, self portrait, 1882-1883Image:Vuillard sPortrait 1889.jpg|Édouard Vuillard, self-portrait, 1889Image:SelbstPortrait VG2.jpg|Vincent Van Gogh, 1889 Musée d'Orsaymarker ParismarkerImage:Paul Gauguin 125.jpg|Paul Gauguin, 1889 National Gallery of Artmarker, Washington DCmarkerImage:Vincent Willem van Gogh 106.jpg|Vincent Van Gogh (1889)Image:Paul Gauguin 111.jpg|Paul Gauguin (1893)Image:Rousseau09.jpg|Henri Rousseau, (1890)Image:Eakins selfportrait.jpg|Thomas Eakins, National Academy of Designmarker, 1902.Image:Stanislaw Wyspianski.jpg|Stanisław Wyspiański (1869–1907), Polishmarker playwright, poet, architect, painter, prolific self-portraitist (1902)Image:henri_matisse.jpg|Henri Matisse, Self-Portrait in a Striped T-shirt 1906, Statens Museum for Kunstmarker, Copenhagen, DenmarkmarkerImage:John Singer Sargent - autoportrait 1906.jpg|John Singer Sargent,
self-portrait, 1907
Image:Pierre-Auguste Renoir 134.jpg|Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1910)Image:Renoir Self-Portrait 1910.jpg|Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1910)Image:Chagall IandTheVillage.jpg|Marc Chagall (1910)Image:Egon Schiele 037.jpg|Egon Schiele (1910)Image:Egon Schiele 079.jpg|Egon Schiele, 1912Image:Malevich24.jpg|Kazimir Malevich (1912)Image:Manson-Self.jpg|J.B. Manson, Self-Portrait, c.(1912)Image:Chase_William_Merritt_Self_Portrait_1915.jpg|William Merritt Chase, 1915.Image:Demuth_Charles_Turkish Bath with Self Portrait_1918.jpg|Charles Demuth, Turkish Bath with Self Portrait, 1918Image:Murayama Kaita self-portrait.jpg|Kaita Murayama, self portrait, 1918, Japanese writer, poetImage:Lovis Corinth 005.jpg|Lovis Corinth, 1924Image:Chen Chengpo 1930.jpg|Chen Cheng-po, self-portrait, 1930

Image:Max Beckmann's 'Self-portrait with Horn', 1938-1940.jpg|Max Beckmann (1938-1940)Image:Saville, Closed Contact 10.jpg|Jenny Saville, Closed Contact #10, 1996Image:‘Self-portrait (Mars)’, oil on canvas painting by Yan Pei-Ming, 2000, National Gallery of Australia.jpg|Yan Pei-Ming, self portrait, (2000)


Two methods of obtaining photographic self-portraits are widespread. One is photographing a reflection in the mirror, and the other photographing one's self with the camera in an outstretched hand. Eleazar Langman photographed his reflection on the surface of a nickel-plated teapot.

Another method involves setting the camera or capture device upon a tripod, or surface. One might then set the camera's timer, or use a remote controlled shutter release.

Finally, setting up the camera, entering the scene and having an assistant release the shutter (i.e., if the presence of a cable release is unwanted in the photo) can arguably be regarded as a photographic self-portrait, as well.Image:Mathew Brady 1875 cropped.jpg|Mathew Brady, self-portrait, circa 1875Image:Nadar selfportrait.jpg|Nadar, the leading French portrait photographer, c.1870sFile:Rimbaud in Harar.jpg|Arthur Rimbaud, Self-portrait in Hararmarker, Ethiopiamarker, 1883,Image:Eakins, Thomas (1844-1916) - 1883 ca. - Autoritratto con John Laurie Wallace.jpg|Thomas Eakins, Self portrait with John Laurie Wallace, circa 1883Image:Muybridge disk step walk.jpg|Eadweard Muybridge Self-portrait as man throwing, climbing and walking, circa 1893Image:Edward S. Curtis self portrait 1899.jpg|Edward S. Curtis, self-portrait, 1898

Image:August Strindberg photographic selfportrait 2.jpg|August Strindberg, self-portrait, c. 1900File:Kirchner 1919 portrait.jpg|Ernst Kirchner, self-portrait, 1919Image:El Lissitzky self portrait 1914.jpg|El Lissitsky self-portrait, 1924Image:Carl Van Vechten.jpg|Carl Van Vechten portrait photographer, self-portrait, 1934Image:'Photo-Transformation', Polaroid SX-70 print by Lucas Samaras, 1973, Getty Museum.jpg|Lucas Samaras (1973)Image:'Self Portrait, After Marilyn Monroe', --Gelatin-silver process-gelatin silver print-- by --Yasumasa Morimura--, 1996, --The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu--.jpg|Yasumasa Morimura Self Portrait, After Marilyn Monroe, 1996

Drawings, prints and engravings

Image:Giuseppe Arcimboldo.jpg|Giuseppe Arcimboldo, self portrait, c. 1577Image:D.D.Petrus.Paulus.Rubens.jpg|Peter Paul Rubens, self portrait, c. 1634Image:Goya selfportrait.jpg|Francisco de Goya, self portrait, print, 1795Image:ConstableSelfPortrait.png|John Constable self portrait, 1806Image:Caspar David Friedrich self portrait.jpeg|Caspar David Friedrich, self portrait, age thirty-six, 1810Image:Rossetti selbst.jpg|Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet and artist, self portrait, 1847Image:Jean-François Millet. Auto-retrato.jpg|Jean-François Millet, self portrait, c. 1850Image:Max Liebermann Selbstbildnis 1922.jpg|Max Liebermann, self portrait, 1922

See also

Notes and references

  1. Campbell, Lorne; National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings, pp 212-17, 1998, ISBN 185709171
  2. accessed online July 28, 2007 an online history of self-portraits, various excerpts from Edward Lucie-Smith and Sean Kelly, The Self Portrait: A Modern View (London: Sarema Press, 1987)
  3. Campbell, Lorne, Renaissance Portraits, European Portrait-Painting in the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries, pp. 3-4, 1990, Yale, ISBN 0300046758
  4. Eg, respectively, the four Philosophers and the Prodigal Son ( Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden)
  5. Campbell, Lorne; National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings, pp 180, 1998, ISBN 185709171. The Arnolfini Portrait hung in the same palace in Madrid in which Las Meninas was painted
  6. Full composition (part of larger scheme)
  7. Full composition (part of larger scheme)
  8. This is a later and larger repetition in the National Gallery of the original
  9. Marie-Denise Villers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  10. Pharaoh's sculptor, Bak accessed online July 28, 2007
  11. Jonathon Alexander; Medieval Illuminators and their Methods of Work; p.8-34, Yale UP, 1992, ISBN0300056893 collects several examples
  12. For all this section, Giulia Bartrum, Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy, p. 77–84 & passim, British Museum Press, 2002, ISBN 0714126330
  13. This drawing in red chalk is widely (though not universally) accepted as an original self-portrait. The main reason for hesitation in accepting it as a portrait of Leonardo is that the subject is apparently of a greater age than Leonardo ever achieved. But it is possible that he drew this picture of himself deliberately aged, specifically for Raphael's portrait of him in the School of Athens. A case has also been made, originally by novelist Dmitry Merezhkovsky, that Leonardo based his famous picture Mona Lisa on his own self-portrait.
  14. Erwin Panofsky (and originally Fritz Saxl), Titian's "Allegory of Prudence", A Postscript, in Meaning in the Visual Arts, Doubleday/Penguin, 1955
  15. For this section and the gallery, Ernst van de Wetering in Rembrandt by himself, p.10 and passim, 1999, National Gallery, London/Mauritshuis, The Hague, ISBN 1857092708
  16. Munch Museum
  17. Campbell, Lorne; National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings, pp 214, 1998, ISBN 185709171
  18. Respecively, the "вставной","представительский, или символический", "групповой портрет", "отдельный или естественный"
  19. A better-known version is in the Uffizi. This one was sold at auction in Germany in 2007
  20. Rembrandt by himself, op cit, p.211
  21. Rembrandt by himself, op cit, pp 11-13; for the Arnolfini reference see: National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings, Lorne Campbell, 1998, ISBN 185709171
  22. Aislinn Loconte in, Lucy Whitaker, Martin Clayton, The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection; Renaissance and Baroque, p.270, Royal Collection Publications, 2007, ISBN 978 1 902163 291. The biographer was Baldinucci. This is the version in the Royal Collection, there are others in the Pitti Palace etc.
  23. asks Michael Levey in Painting at Court, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1971, pp 124-5
  24. Rebels and Martyrs, National Gallery
  25. Ses hits
  26. online self-portrait exhibition catalog
  27. Jeancolas (1998), 164.
  28. online Getty Museum bio

Further reading

Not in English

  • Joëlle Moulin, L'autoportrait au XXe siècle, éd. Adam Biro, Paris, 1999
  • Pascal Bonafoux, Les peintres et l'autoportrait, 1984
  • Bernard Auriol, L'image préalable, l'expression impressive et l'autoportrait, Psychologie Médicale, 19, 9, 1543-1547, 1987
  • Bonafoux, Pascal / Rosenberg, David: Moi! Autoportraits du XXe siècle. Musée du Luxembourgmarker (Paris) / Skira Editore (Milano), Exhibition catalogue. 2004, Text French, Paris 2004, ISBN 88-8491-854-5 The book presents 155 artist (fine art) of the 20th century by showing their self-portraits added by informative texts.
  • Borzello, Frances: Wie Frauen sich sehen  –  Selbstbildnisse aus fünf Jahrhunderten. Karl Blessing Verlag, München 1998, ISBN 3-89667-052-2
  • Calabrese, Omar: Die Geschichte des Selbstporträts. Deutscher Kunstverlag, München 2006, ISBN 3-7774-2955-4
  • Pfisterer, Ulrich / Rosen, Valeska von ~ (Hrsg.): Der Künstler als Kunstwerk. Selbstporträts vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. Reclam, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-15-010571-4 ( Rezension)
  • Jeancolas, Claude. (1998). Passion Rimbaud: L'Album d'une vie. Paris: Textuel. ISBN 978-2909317663

Self-portrait in neurology

  • Tielsch AH, Allen PJ (2005) Listen to them draw: screening children in primary care through the use of human figure drawings. Pediatr Nurs 31(4): 320—327. This survey of literature is focused on the method of drawing people as the method of diagnostics. Children's figures can recognize mental disorders. The authors describe the use of self-portraits for diagnostics of emotional disorders in children from 6 to 12 years. Although this procedure does not make it possible to place final diagnosis, it is useful for the recognition of problems.
  • Morin C, Pradat-Diehl P, Robain G, Bensalah Y, Perrigot M (2003) Stroke hemiplegia and specular image: lessons from self-portraits. Int J Aging Hum Dev 56(1): 1-41. Patients with hemiplegia have diverse problems of self-perception, which are caused by neurological defeats of the idea of body, or by psychological problems with the perception their own self.

Psychology of self-perception

  • Wegner DM (2003) The mind's self-portrait. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1001: 212—225. Psychology and neuroscience approach understanding of reason and consciousness. Meanwhile each human reason contains the self-portrait, which contains the self-appraisal of cognitive processes. This self-portrait assumes that the actions of man are governed by thoughts and, thus, the body is governed by consciousness. Self-portrait leads to the persuasion, that we consciously desire to make something. Studies show that self-portraiture is a caricature on the function of the brain, but at the same time it is the basis of the sensation of authorship and responsibility of one's own actions.

External links

One can also use the term "autoportrait" in the search engine of the Joconde database, which describes the works of 84 French museums, including the Louvre:

Other links :

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