Self portrait : A timeless endeavor 

A portrait is a painting, photograph, drawing or other artistic representation of a person in which the face and its expression are predominant. The intent is often to display likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. A self-portrait may be a portrait of the artist or an interjection of the artist into a group portrait. Self-portraiture is a trend among artists that seems to have never lost it's position in the artist's portfolio. Even through many developments in social, economical, technology and art trends we still see it's commonness today. Some of the many justifications out there for self-portrait range from self-promotion, story-telling, a matter of access and personal or psychological exploration. This exhibition is a brief over view of nine artists who are well known for their use and or purpose of self-portraits spanning a time lapse of 1433- 1954.

Jan Van Eyck was a highly sought after portrait artist. His portraits are characterized by his manipulation of oil paint and meticulous attention to detail. His painting Portrait of a Man in a Turban, pictured here in a reproduction is considered by many to be a possible self-portrait and may well be the earliest known panel self-portrait. It is likely his purpose in creating these types of portraits was business related for promoting himself as an artist.
Botticelli has captured a large range of varying heads and expressions in this scene some full-face, some in profile, some three-quarters and in various other ways displaying his mastery of the profession. It is also an example of the artist imposing his self-portrait into a group portrait. Although it is a family portrait commissioned by a banker for his chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella, Botticelli has allegedly interjected his self-portrait viewed to the left as the blond man with the yellow mantle.
Durer was an artist highly conscious of his public image and reputation. He is said to have depicted himself more than any artist before him, producing at least twelve images, including three oil paintings and four figures in altarpieces like the image shown here. This is another example of a self-portrait placed into a group image. Durer is depicted in the right hand corner holding a page of text, thus giving his figure a level of importance by providing the only written reference. Similar to Botticelli the purpose of interjecting his portrait is unknown, they could be leaving their signature in a visual way or perhaps wanting to immortalize themselves with their work.
Considered one of the most frequent self-portrait artists spanning out of the 17th century, scholars suggest Rembrandt has a collection of over forty paintings, a few drawings and thirty-one etchings. Many of these images show him posing in quasi-historical dress or similar to the painting here pulling faces at himself. It is now known that he had his students copy his own self-portraits as part of their learning. It could be that he is having his students learn the same way he dose though studies of his portraits.
One of the most prolific of self-portraitists working out of the Post-Impressionist movement was Vincent van Gogh, who painted himself thirty-seven times between 1886-1889. 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. It could be argued that his obsession grew out of a mix of psychological exploration or his inability to afford models as a very unsupported artist of his time.
Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity and its raw sexuality, and the many self-portraits the artist produced including naked self-portraits. The twisted body shapes that characterize his paintings and drawings make the artist a notable exponent of expressionism. Although his is considered by some to be self-obsessed it could be that he has spent his hours in self-portraits delving into his personal psychology as opposed to feeding an insatiable ego.
This is an example of a late self-portrait of Munch, better known for his famous painting The Scream. We see his figure stands left of center erect and facing forward in a room. Vibrantly coloured and painted with visible energy it is a break from the artist's typical style. It may be a reflection of where Munch sees himself in his career and possibly life, as many of his late life portraits have a sense of confrontation.
Frida was a Mexican artist who was best known for her self-portraits. She suffered lifelong health issues, many caused by a traffic accident she survived as a teenager. Her reoccurring hospital stays isolated her from other people, this isolation greatly influenced her work where her main sources of reference were strategically placed mirrors in which she could observe herself. However this never prevented her from developing a very impressive and emotionally moving portfolio.
Rivera was a Mexican painter and husband to Frida Kahlo. He is prominently known for his large wall works in fresco which helped to establish the Mexican Mural Movement. This similar to Munch is a late self-portrait of the artist. In the image he is aged looking slightly ill, the year 1954 was marked by two important events in his life: the death of Frida and a diagnosis of cancer. It is expected that this portrait is one of self-reflection and confrontation of his position in life.
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