Sunday, February 12, 2012


2012, oil on linen, 9 x 12 inches
Self-Portrait, 2007
Many famous artists have made self-portraits. Vincent VanGogh (Dutch, 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) made 22 in just two years. The Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo  (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) produced over fifty. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when scholars began to study Rembrandt Van Rijn (Dutch, 15 July 1606[1] – 4 October 1669), they were surprised to discover that he had painted himself on at least forty occasions, and had etched himself thirty-one times, and made a handful of drawings.
Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

I love to look at self-portraits. They are always inquisitive, and take a bit of boldness. After all, how many people can look at themselves in the mirror for hours—even days on end. It can be daunting, looking at oneself so closely and honestly. My first attempt was when I was a student at The Maryland Institute, College of Art, and my painting class was given the assignment to do a self-portrait. I spent sixty hours trying to get it right before I finally succeeded.
Van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Straw Hat 1887

The history of mirrors is a fun subject, and is the outcome of man’s craving to see himself, and know how he looks on the outside. In early times, crude mirrors were made of flattened, polished metal that showed reflections. Then, in Venice, Italy, during the 16th century, a method of backing a plate of flat glass with a thin sheet of reflecting metal came into widespread production. The invention was so fantastic and special, that it was a closely guarded secret.

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait-1660

In the field of photography, the contemporary artist Cindy Sherman (American, born January 19, 1954) is famous for her series of self-portraits. In them, she assumes a wide range of roles. Her prints are among the highest paid for photographs.

Cindy Sherman

This past week, I found a few self-portraits in my studio that were done within the past five years. I have re-worked them, even though my face has changes somewhat.
Wikipedia has a great article including plenty of pictures about self-portraits:

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