The self-portrait , figure of the painter by itself, is a exercise that seldom the authors of Peinture did not test. The kind is certainly very old, but it is with the Renaissance that it takes really its rise, when the individual becomes in oneself a center of main interest.
History of the self-portrait
The creation of painting was reported to the vision Narcisse contemplating himself in his mirror (Alberti) and thus refers directly to the self-portrait. Beyond narcissism, the self-portrait was a convenient manner to exert its technique (the model most easily available being oneself).
One notes the appearance of the first self-portraits as of the 12th century in the Enluminure S but they are in fact of the signatures (often accompanied by the name of the executant) more than of real pictorial expressions.
Albrecht Dürer is undoubtedly the great creator of the kind in painting. It takes shape as of the thirteen years age in 1484, then painted three large self-portraits in 1493, 1498 and 1500. That of 1500 is particularly remarkable because Dürer painted there of face, an visual angle that few painters used to be represented. To last is also the first artist to be represented naked (1503). It takes again also an artifice already used before him by Sandro Botticelli and perhaps by FRA Angelico, that to paint itself among the characters of an event, left visual signature of the table (This process was used as of 1359 in the Assomption of the Virgin by Andréa Orcagna). One thus sees it crossing with a friend the landscape of the Martyre of the 10.000 (1508). Finally he does not hesitate to take shape under the features of Christ, in 1522 and 1523, is a few years before its death.
The Italian great painters of the Rebirth carried out self-portraits relatively little. The first is undoubtedly that of the Pérugin about 1500 (college of Cambio of Perugia). One knows a drawing of Léonard de Vinci (1512). As for Michel-Angel, it gave its face to the skin of holy Barthélemy in the last Jugement of the Chapelle Sixtine (1536 - 1541). Raphaël is more known to us: one sees it among the characters of the School of Athens (1510), or with a friend to which it holds the shoulder (1518). To also note two beautiful portraits of Titien as an old man in the years 1560. Véronèse appears for its part as a violist vêtu of white in the Wedding at Cana, table where it represents playing Titien of the viola da gamba (1562). Except perhaps for Annibal Carrache, the Italians are not really followers of the kind: Caravage was undoubtedly painted in Bacchus at the beginning of his career, then it appears incidentally in certain of its tables like spectator. One will note however that it gave his head to that of Goliath, held up like trophy by David (1607). At the 17th century, Flemings and Netherlanders are more exhibitionist: Van Dyck and Rubens left us many images of themselves, and Rembrandt accumulated the self-portraits. In Spain, one knows several self-portraits of Murillo or Vélasquez. As for Zurbarán, it was represented in Saint Luc with the feet of Christ in cross (towards 1635). To notice however Léopold de Médicis who collected the many self-portraits of his time (XVIIe century) and who are exposed since in the Corridor of Vasari of Florence.
In the years 1800, Goya will be painted with many recoveries.
In France of the XVIIe century, one knows especially the self-portraits of Poussin. At the 18th century, Jean Siméon Chardin renews the kind, not hesitating to paint itself on several occasions out of bonnet and eyeglasses. Quentin of the Tower also left many self-portraits where it appears sometimes lines some in without wig, sometimes in costume of pageantry.
Thereafter, one can say that each great painter left us at least a self-portrait, but the kind was particularly snuffed by the expressionnists of the beginning of the 20th century, perhaps under the influence of the self-portraits of Van Gogh. To announce in particular the many self-portraits of Munch, Schiele, Beckmann and Kokoschka.
To announce for the 21e century Arnaud Prinstet contemporary artist whose step consists in painting its self-portrait the every day.
Techniques of representationThe self-portrait supposes in theory the use of a Miroir, instrument which develops as from the 15th century. But the first mirrors used were convex, involving deformations which the artist sometimes rained himself to preserve, with the image of one amusing table carried out by Parmigianino in 1524 ( Autoportrait with the mirror ). The mirror allows compositions surprising like that of the Triple self-portrait of Johannes Gumpp (1646), or more close to us that of El Salvador Dalí painting Gala (1971-72). This use of the mirror has as an amusing consequence that the left-handed painters generally represent themselves as a droitier (and conversely).
For the representation itself, the painter can choose to show himself in bust, without particular attributes, sometimes of face but generally of three-quarter. However the self-portraits with the pallet or the brush do not miss, just as the representations of the artist in his workshop. In this category, the most known example is perhaps the Workshop of the painter , Gustave Courbet (1855), immense jumble of objects and heteroclite characters, but one will not forget, although it is not here about a workshop, Diego Vélasquez painting Ménines (1656).
Sometimes the artist likes himself to disguise, or at least to cover a costume which is not it his usually. It is already the case with Dürer, and Rembrandt will multiply this kind of metamorphosis. He can also paint himself with friends, or evoke his family life. Rubens represents with three of its close relations in the Four Philosophers (1615), but also with his first wife Isabella Brant in 1610, then with the second, Helene Fourment, in 1639.
Even if Ingres were never painted with a violin, many are the artists who put themselves in scene with an musical instrument, for example Lavinia Fontana playing of the clavichord (1578), Courbet of the violoncello (1847) or Beckmann of the saxophone (1930). Others preferred to evoke important moments of their life, in particular of the diseases: Goya is made look after by a doctor (1820), and Munch paints convalescent after having escaped with the Spanish influenza (1919).
Lastly, it is advisable to announce the many cases, already mentioned above, where the painter represents himself inside a scene of which he is not the principal element. The first unquestionable example is that of Benozzo Gozzoli in the Procession of the Magi (1459), his name being registered on its bonnet. He is imitated a few years later per Sandro Botticelli, spectator of the Worship of the Magi , which is diverted scene to look at us (1475), as Filippino Lippi in one of the frescos of the Martyre of saint Pierre of the Chapelle Brancacci of Santa Maria del Carmine, or even Piero della Francesca being represented with the foot of the Christ in resurrection (museo civico with Sansepolcro), as a deadened soldier.
Large Masters of the self-portrait
Most famous and most fertile of the autoportraitists is without Rembrandt question, which one preserved a good hundred tables, drawings or engravings where it is represented. Its first known self-portrait goes back to 1627, its last of 1669, a few weeks before its death. The reasons of such “a frenzy” are not known for us, each one having given its own interpretation. Always it that we can see it aging with the passing of years and under various disguises, since the young man with the timid air which is painted with back-light whereas it has just been twenty years old, to the old tired man, is wrinkled, with the budding nose of 1669.
No kindness in the tables of Rembrandt, no either in Van Gogh, who painted thirty-seven time between 1886 and 1889. In all these self-portraits one is struck by the glance of the painter, seldom carried us, and who even when it fixed seems to us to look at elsewhere.
Even if they are less known, the many self-portraits of Egon Schiele deserve the interest, because no other which him did not go also far in the exhibitionnism, representing themselves naked with many recoveries, of face, of profile, knelt, masturbating sometimes or holding up in Eros (1911) an enormous red sex in erection.
With Frida Kahlo the things are different. One knows that following a terrible accident it had to spend many years of its confined to bed life, having only itself for model. One owes him of many self-portraits in bust, but also of the nightmarish representations of which much symbolizes the physical sufferings that she lived.
It should be noted that one of the most beautiful collections of self-portraits is close to the museum of the Offices with Florence, precisely in the Corridor of Vasari: it was gathered by the cardinal Léopold de Médicis in the second part of the 17th century and continue until our days. She includes/understands more than 200 portraits, primarily of order, with in particular those of Pierre de Cortone, Charles Le Brun, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Marc Chagall.
Psychoanalysis of the self-portraitTo represent itself is a tendency of most general at the human being, starting from this jubilation first which makes to exulter the baby discover his own image, in and without the Miroir since the eyes of the mother are enough there. And later all eyes! This tendency can give place to the self-portrait of the painter itself who decides to represent himself or to suggest his own image; or as it is of mode in the scenario writers to melt itself in wink like a simple appear Alfred Hitchcock. This representation of oneself can be nonconscious and appear in many ways: one is given to see as a Persona (Carl Gustav Jung). This shape of self-portrait is at the base of the make-up, clothing, and the least gestures or attitudes which tend to reveal/mask a certain preliminary image of oneself (direct image of the philosopher Ludwig Klages) which creates the portrait before does not exist its model. Imaginary self-portrait which impregnates permanently and without the knowledge of its author, all forms of expression.
The self-portrait is also a literary Genre being connected with the Autobiographie, but moving away some since it is not a Récit strictly speaking.
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