When considered as a set, Visconti’s self-portraits present a diversified artistic path and clearly illustrate the various stylistic and formal experimentations the artist engaged in throughout his nearly 70-year career. Works with na academic flavor coexist in his oeuvre with others of a neorealist, pre-Raphaelite, divisionist, impressionista, or symbolist tone. A restless and experimental spirit, respected by both the more conservative and the more innovative artists of his time, Eliseu Visconti developed a very personal style, in which all these tendencies converged.
This self portrait, painted by Visconti when he was about 40 years old, establishes the attributes that would consistently appear in his self-portraits from then on: the beard, the hat ante necktie (the glasses would be added later). At the beginning of his career, when he was still a student at the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes, and later, when he was in Paris on na art grant from the Brazilian Republic, between 1893 and 1900, Visconti portrayed himself with a fixed and determined, almost aggressive look. This image was gradually substituted by another, nearly scoffing one, with a more dapper demeanor and mischievous smile, representing the classical image of the sweet, kind-hearted old man.