For this I was to choose 5 or 6 artists who whom painted self-portraits and try to cover a broad time span and different painting techniques’. I was then to look at the portraits and make notes covering aspects of how do they portray themselves as the artist or? Is there a purpose to the self-portrait? What impression are they trying to convey? What impression is portrayed? Then if possible compare their portrait with one of the sitter painted by another artist.
ALBRECHT DURER 1484
This is a beautiful self-portrait in Silver Point showing a 13-year-old boy. He was said to be a precocious boy and this shows through in this self-portrait. He looks very self-assured a serious individual and gives me the impression this is what he was trying to portray. There is a touch of arrogance about him.
LEONARDO DA VINCI 1512
Leonardo da Vinci portrait Man in Red Chalk I love this drawing not a painting, but drawing is the basis of good painting and I feel he is the master. I don’t know the purpose of it the picture and some experts argue it isn’t he, but if it is he has portrayed a wise elderly man with status who looks to be deep in thought. His flowing locks are almost biblical. Maybe he was trying to depict his wisdom. The painting by Raphael of Plato was said to be based on a likeness of Leonardo da Vinci and I must agree there are similarities in appearance and portrayal and I can understand why Raphael used the likeness to show a man of wisdom and philosophy.
Leonardo da Vinci Self Portrait Raphael’s Portrait of Plato
MARY CASSATT 1880
The watercolour self-portrait by Mary Cassatt depicts the painter, she painted women in the many rolls they played within her time. I think the purpose of this painting is to show women at work, and that is how it appears to me. She shows a strong woman who enjoys the work she does. There is a confidence in her stance and she seems to be sending the message, you can do what you put your mind to. The second portrait of Cassatt I have chosen is one by Degas they were supposed to be friends for many years painting together. This painting shows a woman deep in thought holding some pictures and was supposed to be painted in the way Degas saw her, demanding, curious and elegant. I think it shows her as a strong and intelligent woman, and yes there is an elegance about her.
Self Portrait Cassatt portrait by Degas
L S LOWRY 1936
My appreciation of Lowrys work has grown since starting the course with OCA so I couldn’t write about self-portraits without a mention of this talented man. What did he want to show of himself in his portrait, he saw himself as a lonely man and yes to me this is how the picture looks. A soulful man just one of the many in the crowd. His flat cap and coat depicting an everyday sort of person. He could be a local worker in the nearby mill. I would say he must of seen himself this way and was a man who didn’t let his position in life take him too far away from his beginnings. Olwyn Bowey shows a slightly different man, she painted the sketch in two sittings and I think she has portrayed a more interesting figure, the sense of humour she saw when painting him shines through in the near smile he has. She also shows a more distinguished man you would say had some standing but not without Grace. I think although this is impressionistic she has captured what I believe to be the spirit of Lowry. It is said he dared the artist to brighten up the picture which is why there is a splash of red. Something I have noticed in his depiction of the grimy mills of the North, he has a splash of colour lifting the viewers spirits from the depth of despair within the mood of his subject. I live near these streets and the greyness on a wet day is complete and can lower ones spirits, colour is needed to heighten ones mood and let the viewer see there is still something to be enjoyed no matter how bleak life can be.
Self Portrait Portrait of Lowry by Olwyn Bowey
SALVADOR DALI 1941
A surrealist painter I find his self-portrait amusing, he depicts himself with a soft face almost like a mask supported by crutches and a slice of bacon supposed to be a symbol of the breakfast he ate. Painted not as a painter but his features are unmistakable the eye brows and moustache are very prominent characteristics of the artist. Not sure of his purpose in painting this but it does remind me of his melting clocks and has a theatrical look about it. Equally entertaining is the doubly reversible portrait by Richard Meric. This is painted in the paranoia-critical method developed by Dali and shows a picture within a picture when viewed from various angles. It was drawn out of respect for the artist and has that theatrical look Dali had about him.
SELF PORTRAIT “Doubly reversible portrait of Salvador Dali”
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