Presentation on theme: "Jean Fouquet's self-portrait (c. 1450), a small picture created in gold on black enamel, is seen as "the earliest clearly identified self-portrait that."— Presentation transcript:
Jean Fouquet's self-portrait (c. 1450), a small picture created in gold on black enamel, is seen as "the earliest clearly identified self-portrait that is a separate painting, not an incidental part of a larger work.“ However, self-portraits are known to go back as far as the Amarna Period (c. 1365 B.C. ) of Ancient Egypt.
A self-portrait, as a projection of self, may have began with Fouquet's hand held portrait, but artists like Albrecht Dürer are known for the detailed exploration of their own images. They paint themselves as they wish to be seen. Other portrait artists who also used the self-portrait as a projection of self did so to demonstrate wealth, social status, talent or religious beliefs.
While Dürer used the canvas to reflect his physical appearance, later artists such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh took the self-portrait to a deeper level. Rembrandt created vast amounts of self-portraits through intensive self-study. Van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother, "In Rembrandt's portraits...it is more than nature, it is a kind of revelation." Rembrandt's self-portraits delve deep into the psyche, they show a complex personality, strong emotions, and a chronicle of circumstances through life. One of the greatest examples of self-portrait as self study can be seen in the work of Frida Kahlo. In approximately one-third of her work Kahlo used herself as the main subject, creating a kind of therapy, struggling to make amends with personal afflictions.
A strange mix? Experts continue to debate what Gauguin intended with these contradictory symbols. He seems to be dealing in opposites: good and evil, heaven and hell. He places expanses of flat, intense color—red and yellow—next to each other. He frames his floating head with stylized, arching green stems and square flowers. Is this the Garden of Eden... or... ? Is Gauguin telling us he is part angel, part devil? Perhaps he's showing himself as a sort of magician—an artist with tremendous creative power who can conjure identities through his artistry. Another unusual fact about this work: Gauguin painted it on the wooden door of an inn in northwestern France. All in all, it is a very startling and thought- provoking portrait.
All of these artists gazed into their mirrors and attempted to grasp their identities. They sought to portray their image, whether it showed a clear representation of their features, a walk through their childhood or an outpouring of emotions. Some self-portraits show only what the artist wants us to see, some chronicle the history of the artist, others reveal personal secrets and a sense of isolation. Whichever method is employed each artist took a long literal and figurative look at him/herself. Each portrait is a an exploration of the self.