What a self-portrait can be?

My last research is of the self-portrait by artists that I have learnt from Rembrandt, van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Tracey Emin. My tutor wants me to go a bit further with it.

Why do the artists draw self-portraits?

Do they want to know more about themselves? Do they want to show the audience more about themselves?

What do they do in their self-portraits and what do they want to show their audience?

Do they just draw a solemn face, a face and shoulders, half-length portrait, full-length portrait? Where do they draw the self-portrait? In a couch, in a corner of room or in a bath? Who else can be in the image (a pet, a friend or a family)? When do they draw? 0:00 AM to 2:00 AM? Maybe some artists can put up the good skills at this time.

So what a self-portrait can be? I am going to learn some more artists.

Edvard Munch (12 December 1863 – 23 January 1944)


Munch had a miserable life since he was very young, also his father was obsessively religious. He said:” The angels of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born. I inherited two of mankind’s most frightful enemies—the heritage of consumption and insanity.”

Look at this self-portrait by Munch in 1895. He has drawn his face and neck in Realism. But his eyes are gloomy and dark without light. From the first view, I thought he folded his arms in front of his chest in this lithograph work but there is only a skeleton arm. All the rest of the space is evil and fear black. Will he be swamped by the darkness?

Andrew Wyeth (July 12, 1917 – January 16, 2009)

The Revenant (self-portrait), 1949


In this article Wyeth have drawn himself with most of the body in an interior. It is authentic and persuasive work. The viewport is quite low so the perspective of the wall and the feeling is very effective. Wyeth was wearing a white suit which is colour to match with the pale colour of the wall.  So the lights (The lights come from the underneath of the curtain on the window.) comes from the bottom of the corner also behind of the body. Why Wyeth arrange this? Does he want a special effect?

Norman Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978)

Triple Self-Portrait, 1960


This is a dramatic work from Norman Rockwell that it seems you can see the process with perfusion. There are a few portraits in this article. As you can see his whole back of the body, a colourful head and shoulder in a mirror and a black and white on the drawing board. A couple of quick monochromes on the left of the board. Also, he has drawn his gesture and you may see his movement from it. In addition to this, on his right side of the board, there are in order of the works: Albrecht Dürer‘s self-portrait at 26, Rembrandt “standing” self-portrait in Vienna (1652), one of the works of Picasso and one of the self-portrait by Van Gogh.

Through this completed work, we can see Rockwell is a stickler for neatness and most of the features are real. He has exceptional insight that he didn’t simply depict his own face and also he didn’t only put attention on his half top’s character. He used humor and humility with a pipe in mouth breezily, then looks at the mirror to draw himself. Yet he didn’t actually draw what he has seen.

Pablo Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973)


Picassos is a lucky artist. There are some articles about ” Picasso Made Self-Portraits from Age 15 Until His Death That Show How His Artistic Genius Evolved.”

 http://www.vorply.com/art/list/what-happens-when-picasso-portrait-himslef-for-75-years/ Posted on Jan 10, 2017

Picassos’ style of naturalistic,  expressionism, surrealism to cubism.  He used abstract style thrived at showcasing what he was in this world, painting self-portraits from teenage to a wise older self.


Salvador Dalí (11 May 1904 – 23 January 1989)

Compare to the artists above, even Picasso just used a distorted but fluid line to describe a character. Yet Dali used deformity flayed skin for a face appears to be instead of his character. But he presents his character that with his upturned, antenna-like moustaches. This spectre is supported by several crutches.Though, what is the correlation with a piece of bacon? Why used this pedestal? Why is called soft self-portrait? After I read this article I realised that there are some ants around the eye and mouth also signifying decay or weakness.
What a self-portrait can be? It is a wide-ranging theme.

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