10 facts about self-portraits
Professional art analysts subdivide the genre of self-portrait into several areas. According to widely accepted classifications, the Joker Selfie watch clearly falls under the 'professional' category. In painting, this means that the artist paints himself, for example, on a canvas, together with his brushes and a palette. Konstantin Chaykin depicts himself with a watchmaker's magnifying loupe...
Caravaggio and Goliath
There is a well-founded opinion that in the painting "David with the Head of Goliath" (painted around 1605) the great Italian artist Caravaggio depicted himself in the severed head of Goliath.
This is supported by the obvious similarity of this image with the portrait of Caravaggio painted by the Italian graphic artist Ottavio Leoni. Caravaggio often painted self-portraits as a secondary character in multi-figure compositions.
Albrecht Dürer, one of the great masters of painting and prints, created several self-portraits including the famous "Self-Portrait with Fur-Trimmed Robe" (circa 1500), where he is believed to have presented himself as Christ.
This was undoubtedly a bold move for the artist. Incidentally, Dürer is thought to be the first European artist to write an autobiography.
As a saint or a tempter
In 1889, Paul Gauguin portrayed himself in "Self-portrait with a halo and a snake", both as a saint with a halo, and as a tempter with serpent in hand and a branch with apples (the forbidden fruit). In total Paul Gauguin created more than forty self-portraits.
Marc Chagall wrote in his book "My Life" that the idea of painting "Self Portrait with Muse (Dream)" (1917) came to him while he was dreaming.
Self-portrait or not?
"La Gioconda" or the "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous paintings in the world. Every year millions of people come to see it in the Louvre in Paris.
The question of who is depicted in the painting has remained unclear over the centuries. One version is that "Mona Lisa" is a surreptitious self-portrait.
The most expensive self-portrait
In 1998 Van Gogh's "Portrait of the Artist Without his Beard" (1889), believed to be the last self-portrait of the artist, was sold at Christie's New York for $71.5 million, becoming one of the most expensive self-portraits ever sold.
Stolen and recovered
"Self-portrait with Beret and Gathered Shirt" (1630) by Rembrandt (estimated value $37m) was stolen from the National Museum in Stockholm in an armed robbery in December 2000. Fortunately, it was recovered in 2005.
A recognizable moustache!
Not surprisingly, Salvador Dalí had an unconventional approach to depicting himself. He painted his own image in "Soft Self-Portrait With Grilled Bacon" (1941) in a soft organic manner typical for his art. There is no doubt about whether Dalí painted it or not thanks to the clearly visible upturned mustache. Actually, he probably could have painted just his legendary moustache!
Self-portrait in a mirror
Jan van Eyck, the famous painter and an innovator of the oil painting technique, is one of the earliest masters of the self-portrait. In his painting "The Arnolfini Portrait" (1434), believed to be the first double portrait in European painting, he put into the center of the composition the image of a convex mirror. A closer look at the mirror reveals a few reflected characters, with one of them thought to be Jan van Eyck himself.
Self-portrait of the Last Judgment
In "The Last Judgment", a fresco painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, the noteworthy figure of St. Bartholomew, who is painted holding his own skin, may be seen. There are suggestions that in the outlines of the skin, which the apostle holds in his hand, Michelangelo depicted himself.