Sunday, July 16, 2006

Who am I?

Since the Renaissance, artists have used self-portraits to answer the basic question, Who am I? A mirror or a photograph can tell a person what he or she looks like, but that outer image rarely reflects the whole self. Self-portraiture asks artists to think carefully about personality, character, mood, and physical appearance in order to make decisions about how to represent themselves

Here are some practical reasons why artists make self-portraits:

They get a model who is always available and works for free.
Self-portraits are a good way for artists to practice representing different expressions and moods.
Self-portraits advertise an artist's skill. A potential customer can compare the image in the self-portrait to the actual person and decide on the spot to hire the artist—or not!
Self-portraits live on. They preserve memories and let the artist leave his or her image behind—a way of fulfilling the human quest for immortality.

The National Portrait Gallery had a wonderful exhibition this year, this major exhibition brings together a painted self-portrait by 56 of the world's greatest artists from 1433 right up to the present day, including 14 by women painters. Works by artists renowned for their self-portraits such as Rembrandt, van Gogh, Kahlo and Bacon will be included alongside works by less well-known artists such as Pieter van Laer, Johannes Gumpp and Hans Thoma, whose self-portraits are of exceptional quality and interest. The international range of artists represented includes Carracci, Velázquez, Hogarth, Kauffmann, Courbet, Warhol, Hopper, and Freud.

The Self-Portraits of Albrecht Dürer

Rembrandt's Self Portraits The debate over why Rembrandt made nearly ninety self-portraits continues, but the first exhibition devoted to these works reveals a profound forty-year exploration of what it is to be human.

The portrait above is my own self portrait, done for a challenge in a thread in Wet Canvas. I have done a few sp's in the last couple of months and each one is unique and different. Each one isi a learning experience and a legacy for the future.

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"JeanneG" said...

Anyone seeing my SPs will be running for cover. I may not have any requests for my work if that is the gauge they use. Thankfully I don't make other people look as old as I make myself look. I must really see the dark side of myself. I have loved every one of yours tho. And like you said, they are each unique. You always find a new way.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Thanks for your words Jeanne. We all approach portraits and art differently and each approach is unique and special. Each medium is a different challenge and each self portrait a different challenge.

I'm sure that if I did an sp every day, each one would look entirely different than the one before.

Beverly said...

Dear Jeanette,
I confess, your self portrait of June 19th is my favorite. I feel that is what you most look like.