59. BBC TV Documentary: “Ego – The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits”.

12 Jun 18. Laura Cumming presented this excellent study of self-portraiture through the ages, beginning with what she described as first great self-portrait in Western Art, Durer’s self-portrait of 1500, painted when he was 28. It is generally thought that he has depicted himself as Christ. The eyes have a mesmerising stare that apparently can be quite unsettling.

Durer 1500

Tintoretto also featured with a self-portrait that the contemporary artist, Tai Shan Shierenberg used as a reference to paint his own self-portrait from. I like this idea, and may draw myself in the style of another artist.

The Tintoretto self-portrait and one by Shierenberg (not the one shown in the documentary), “Self-Portrait as Janus” – interesting because he’s painted himself with two heads:

Rembrandt, being a prolific self-portraitist, couldn’t be left out, and it is interesting to see his face painted at various stages of his life as it ages. I like this one from 1660, “Self-Portrait with Two Circles”:

Rembrandt - Self-Portrait with 2 Circles 1660 Kenwood House

I was impressed by a startling self-portrait by Gustave Courbet from 1845 which he called, “The Desperate Man”:

Courbet - The Desperate man 1845

The programme finished with contemporary artist, Mark Wallinger, “Self (Times New Roman)”. This is a sculpture in the form of a life-size letter “I”, which pushes self-portraiture to, and perhaps beyond, it’s boundary:

Mark wallinger - Self (Times New Roman)


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