Selfish or selfless: a collection of self portraits

This gallery will explore self portraits amongst the world's greatest artists. Through various eras, techniques and cultures, artists spend their entire lives developing their style. Some artists garner respect in their field early in life, while others have spent their entire lives trying to succeed. We've seen the world through their perspective, but how do they perceive themselves? Gallery by Dylan Merriman.

L.S. Lowry's self portrait brings the eye toward the subject by using muted colors and flat brushstrokes in the background, which is totally unrecognizable, while bringing forward elements of the foreground using a range of pleasing colors and interesting textures. The artist has posed himself three-quarter turned toward the viewer, facing right. Lowry's use of muted hues and dark space could reveal inner turmoil.
Peter Paul Rubens uses negative space to create depth throughout this self portrait. He's posed stoically, almost entirely cloaked in fabric. His hand and face are brightly exposed in the foreground, while a dim light on the staircase creates depth. The overall brightness of this image is low, as if Rubens is nearly swallowed by the darkness. Rubens overall dark palette could show uneasiness, but this is difficult to tell as Rubens used a lot of darkness in his general style. If the latter is the case, this could show that Rubens was well adjust and saw himself inside of the world he often painted.
In Lovis Corinth's self portrait, he captures himself in the style he is most noted for: impressionism. He uses the horizon line to create separation from the background for both his and the skeleton's heads. He also uses far more detail in the foreground to draw the eye forward. Overall the image uses smooth, calming brushstrokes to create a sense of peace; even if death is right beside you. Corinth's overall representation seems to be humorous. Here, he's almost smirking towards the viewer with the hanging skeleton.
Edward Timothy Hurley presents himself in an impressionist self portrait. Hurley leaves the background almost entirely empty, while using shapes and muted colors to emphasize the foreground. His eyes are lowered (or closed entirely) and look to the lower left corner of the painting. His posture, his glare, and the amount of negative space could convey a sense of regret. This image could show signs of Hurley's dismay, or it could be viewed in a more mysterious light.
Ivas Arosenius portrays himself looking directly at the viewer. He's among nature with a colorful laurel wreath. The majority of the work maintains a cool blue quality, while the wreath is the only thing that seems to hold its full hue. Arosenius also uses a variety of textures in the piece -- from his skin, to his wreath, to the fabric on his shirt, and all the way to the background elements including water -- to hold the viewers attention. Ivar has painted himself in almost a satire of older Roman paintings. It's playful, but I think despite its highly stylized look, he's done a great job of imprinting himself amongst previous greats.
Vilmos Aba Novak also uses impressionism in his self portrait. Here he appears to be smoking a pipe while holding some sort of jar. The color splotches create an almost dreamlike feeling. Despite its lack of realism, the painting still gives us enough detail and depth to create a pleasing image.. Overall the mood of the painting is playful. I believe that Novak's playfulness comes in spite of the stoicism that had littered many of the great self portraits before him. Here he seems happy with his work, while adding additional shapes and colors to showcase his talent.
Painted three years before his death, Vincent Van Gogh's 1887 self portrait shows his affection for bright colors and rhythmic brushstrokes that made him famous. Through the rhythmic brushstrokes Van Gogh was able to create a texture throughout the entire painting, while still giving portions of the painting an extra amount of detail; such as the hair of his beard and the quality of skin on his neck and ears. Van Gogh brings himself in the world that he's famous for painting as he had done many times before. Out of all the artists I've researched, Van Gogh seems to have a consistent series of self portraits. This could be viewed almost as his version of a journal; tracking his progress through life and art.
This 1889 Van Gogh self portrait depicts Vincent looking to the left side of the painting with a palette acting as a foreground element. Van Gogh was still using his very distinct style of rhythmic brush strokes and heavy color to create emotion. He's able to create separation from the indistinguishable background by creating smooth, clean lines around the subject. Just two years after his 1887 portrait, here Van Gogh has again brought himself into his world, but this variant seems more cold. Agains the warmth of his previous versions, this self portrait has a cold feeling, but the brushstrokes indicate a sense of relaxation.
At the age of 22, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn created his first self portrait. The portrait shows most of Rembrandt's face covered in shadow, which makes the eyes look particularly mysterious. The chiaroscuro style painting uses a pattern of light - dark - light to create depth and dimension to a dimly lit portrait. As drastic as this is from most self portraits, the shadowed face could indicate the sense of a lost identity. Furthermore, it could represent a sense of mourning as the eyes are almost completely black.
Approximately thirty-two years after his first self portrait, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn created this 1661 work. In the painting, Rembrandt depicts himself with the attributes of the biblical Apostle Paul in a twisted version of a self portrait. Here Rembrandt is shown holding a stack of papers, which may make reference to the bible. Rembrandt continues to use the chiaroscuro style in this painting. He has painteda light source coming from the top left of the work which almost acts as a halo light for the subject. Rembrandt has painted himself into a history that is not directly his, but it could reflect his feelings towards the bible. His painting not only links him to the Apostle Paul, but brings Paul into his world. He's effectively unified himself with a biblical figure.
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