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see portraitureportraiture,
the art of representing the physical or psychological likeness of a real or imaginary individual. The principal portrait media are painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. From earliest times the portrait has been considered a means to immortality.
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a portrait of an artist executed by himself (for the most part with the aid of one of several mirrors). In a self-portrait, the artist directly expresses his own self-knowledge and evaluation of his own personality, his creative principles. In many self-portraits, the unity of individual and social principles—the artist’s sense of the involvement of his fate with that of generations and classes and with the rise and fall of art—is embodied with great acuity. Often, however, the artist portrays himself only as the most available model for various artistic searches and experiments. Self-portraits were already known among ancient (Phidias) and medieval artists (the 14th-century sculptors Avram of Novgorod and P. Parler in Bohemia). Painters of the early Italian Rennaissance (Masaccio, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Botticelli) often introduced their own protraits into narrative religious compositions. The self-portrait, as a variety of the portrait genre, took form in the 16th century. In the art of the High Renaissance (Raphael, A. Diirer), it expresses the increased social significance of the artist—his self-affirmation; in the art of mannerism—reticence, the instability of the artist’s inner world engendered by the crisis in Renaissance ideals. Finally, the most prominent painters of the late Renaissance (Titian, Tintoretto) disclose to the viewer the dramatic fate of the creative personality defending its spiritual independence. This psychological tension is developed in the self-portraits-confessions of the 17th century where the social aspect of the artist, his relation to the world and society, and his highly dignified position as a fighter for his own convictions is often revealed (N. Pous-sin, P. P. Rubens, and especially Rembrandt, the creator of a series of self-portraits unparalleled in diversity and psychological depth). Self-portraits of the 18th century (J. B. Chardin, J. Reynolds, F. I. Shubin) for the most part transfer the artist into intimate work or domestic surroundings, emphasizing the intellectual efforts of creation, the vigilance of analyzing vision. The prominent artists of the 19th century (J. David, P. O. Runge, O. A. Kiprenskii, G. Courbet, I. N. Kramskoi) not only assert the value of the creative personality and its rich spiritual life, but also see in themselves the embodiment of the typical aspirations of their generation and their social class. On the brink of the 20th century, self-portraits were often chosen for the expression of the personal outlook, the artist’s own pictorially plastic conception (P. Cezanne), his internal spiritual expression (V. Van Gogh, M. A. Vrubel’). In the progressive realistic art of the 20th century (K. Kollwitz, D. Rivera, R. Guttuso) including Soviet art (S. T. Konenkov, M. S. Sar’ian, P. P. Konchalovskii), the best self-portraits express the unity of the personal and the public, the artist’s realization of his social significance.


Gesser, M. Das Selbstbildnis. Zürich, 1961.
References in periodicals archive ?
The most common type of portrait was commissioned, and the selfportrait is no exception, as demonstrated in the collection of self-portraits for the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, the Accademia of San Luca in Rome, the Academie de France, the Academie Royal in Paris, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Academy of the Arts in Vienna, and National Portrait Galleries in London and Washington, D.C.
Like an actress taking on roles, Varo consistently used these selfportrait characters as a way to explore alternative identities, both personal and universal, in a style that quickly became her signature" (Unexpected Journeys 147).
The dances in the second part of the collection are ordered, rather curiously, according to the social rank of the person addressed, except for the first--the "selfportrait" pavan, "Semper Dowland Semper Dolens," which bridges the sections.
Art can always stir up a storm; and sure enough, a tornado touched down during a lecture at Selby Gallery the night before the opening of "" by Lilla LoCurto and William Outcault.
Since the volume in which "Silk and Skin" appears carries a catchy title (Body, Subject and Power in China), bears an arresting cover illustration (a striking selfportrait by the nineteenth-century painter Ren Xiong [1820-57]),(3) and is being widely promoted by a major university press (Chicago), it will likely attract a large - and, in some measure, largely unsuspecting - readership.
When she learned he was gay, it simply confirmed her sense of his being somehow alien; there ensued a subtle but undeniable silence within the family on the subject, the virtual erasure of him from the collective family selfportrait. The result is that as years passed, many of her friends did not know she had a brother.
Undertaking a friendly hermeneutic of the myths of primal cultures yields a remarkable selfportrait of each culture.
But no such issue arises with the profound paintings of trout hooked and bleeding from the gills done in 1873, when Courbet was crushed by the humiliation of imprisonment for his part in the pulling down of the Vendome Column under the Commune, and had to go into exile to escape the terrible financial penalty he alone was made to bear, Mortally trapped, out of its element, breathing its last, the tragic fish is Courbet himself in one of the last of his real allegories, a powerful and unforgettable selfportrait of a fatally caught creature.
In the figure of Prospero, some readers have found Shakespeare's selfportrait; and in Prospero's burying of his books on magic, they have found a symbol of Shakespeare's renunciation of the stage.
Christina Johnson, 89, who has sight loss as a result of macular degeneration, is one of the veterans to have her selfportrait sculpture displayed at the Kelvingrove Gallery tomorrow.