Intriguing self-portraits by famous artists. Update 2022.

Intriguing self-portraits by famous artists. Update 2022.

AUTHOR:Dr. Alisa PalatronisPUBLISHED:February 9, 2022
SOURCE:www.z-antenna.comLENGTH:6 minutes (1070 words).

In 2021 we started the investigation of intriguing self-portraits where artists have chosen to show themselves in a controversial or riveting manner. These self-portraits differ from classical ones, where the most recognizable part of a subject, the face, is emphasized.

As for examples from our previous article Intriguing self-portraits by famous artists, these are “The Two Fridas” by Frida Kahlo, “Hand with Reflecting Sphere” by Maurits Cornelis Escher, “At the Moulin Rouge” by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, “Prisoners’ Round” by Vincent van Gogh, “Soft Self-Portrait with Grilled Bacon” by Salvador Dalí, “Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror” by Parmigianino, “Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria” by Artemisia Gentileschi, “Self-Portrait, 1980” by Alice Hartley Neel and “Triple Self-Portrait, 1960” by Norman Rockwell.

The goal of self-expression through the unusual, unique self-portraiture may differ. Whether it was to bring out mastery and virtuosity of a painter or to express their hidden suffers, emotions, personal life, or historical events – all of them bring the viewer deep into the mystery of the painting and of the life itself.

In this article, we add a few more intriguing self-portraits discovered.

My Parents and Myself

David Hockney (Bradford, England 1937 (age 84)) is one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century; an important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s; painter, draftsman, printmaker, stage designer, and photographer.

Hockney’s self-portrait with his parents has a long history and most likely reflects the depth and importance of their relationship to the artist.

While Hockney was living in Paris intermittently from 1973 to 1975, his parents visited him and he began making preparatory drawings for a painting of them.

Study for “My Parents and Myself,” 1974

© David Hockney

Colored pencil on paper. Source: themorgan.org

The photograph “My Parents” was taken in 1976.

© David Hockney

Source: Artspace.com

According to Artspace.com, David’s “parents were a favorite subject matter of the artist. In this image, we are presented with a playful view, as his father turns the camera’s eye on his son while his mother looks on with a smile. It’s a peaceful and poignant image with layers of meaning, immortalizing his father who passed away a couple of years after it was taken.”

We may feel and “see” the artist as a reflection in his father’s loving eyes, a kind of invisible self-portrait, isn’t it?

Starting with a sketch in colored pencils, David Hockney has completed the painting a few years later “My Parents and Myself, 1976.”

The finished work depicts the artist’s face reflected in a mirror between his mother and father. David Hockney rejected this painting for 45 years till 1975, which caused a temporary rift between the painter and his parents.

 “My Parents and Myself,” 1976

© David Hockney

Source: theguardian.com

Later, the last version of the work has become one of Hockney’s most famous works. It again shows Hockney’s parents and himself. However, the mirror image of the artist is left out as it has three pieces of masking tape on the canvas.

 “My Parents and Myself,” 1977

© David Hockney

Source: Hypebeast.com

The Last Day of Pompeii

Karl Pavlovich Bryullov, original name Charles Bruleau (St. Petersburg, Russia, 1799 – Manziana. Italy, 1852) was a Russian painter. He is regarded as a key figure in the transition from Russian neoclassicism to romanticism.

The picture was painted in Italy, where the artist went on a pensioner’s trip from the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1822. The plot tells about the ancient Roman tragedy – the death of the ancient city of Pompeii, located at the foot of Vesuvius: August 24, 79 AD. e. The volcanic eruption claimed the lives of 2,000 people.

The Last Day of Pompeii (1830-33) by Karl Bryullov

Source: wikimedia.org

On the left side of the picture in the background, several people are depicted on the steps of the large building of the tomb of Scaurus. A woman looks directly at the viewer, in whose eyes horror is read. And behind it is an artist with a box of paints on his head: this is Bryullov’s self-portrait, experiencing a tragedy along with his characters. Translated from Culture.ru.

Reflection with Two Children

Lucian Michael Freud (Berlin, Germany, 1922 – London, England, 2011), a grandson of a neurologist Sigmund Freud, was a British painter and draughtsman, specializing in figurative art, and is known as one of the foremost 20th-century English portraitists.

Reflection with Two Children (Self-Portrait) (1965) by Lucian Freud

Oil on canvas. Source: wikiart.org

This piece is Lucian Freud’s self-portrait with his two children Rose and Ali Boyt. According to Theguardian.com: “The artist is a colossal father figure in this uneasy painting. Seen in a mirror, he dwarfs his tiny children. It is a painting of alienated and anxious self-consciousness … It is as if he is painting a monstrous stranger.”

The Last Judgement

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Caprese near Arezzo, Republic of Florence (present-day Tuscany, Italy, 1475 – Rome, Papal States (present-day Italy), 1564) was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance.

The Last Judgement (1536-41) by Michelangelo. Sistine Chapel, Musei Vaticani, Vatican. Detail.

Source: Dailyartmagazine.com

As interpreted by art historian Anastasia Manioudaki for Dailyartmagazine.com: “Michelangelo gives us one of the most macabre self-portraits. Just below Christ, a saint is holding a knife and his skin … St. Bartholomew was flayed alive. Nevertheless, there is something unusual about the skin, here we see the self-portrait of the artist. The skin and thus Michelangelo are dangling between heaven and hell evoking the worry that the Italian painter had about the fate of his soul.”

Self portrait with Death Playing the Fiddle

Arnold Böcklin (Basel, Switzerland, 1827 – Fiesole, Kingdom of Italy, 1901) was a Swiss symbolist painter.

Self portrait with Death Playing the Fiddle (1872) by Arnold Böcklin.

Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany.

As interpreted by an art historian Anastasia Manioudaki for Dailyartmagazine.com: “Böcklin investigates the legacy of an artist. A chilling figure stands behind him playing fiddle with only one string. The painter pauses to listen to the otherworldly melody. The skeleton represents what we call a memento mori that is Latin for “remember of death” and is used regularly in the art to demonstrate the ephemeral nature of all things. But Böcklin is not frightened by death. On the contrary, the fragility of life motivates and inspires him. He knows that even when the artist dies, his work will live on to mark his passing from this planet.”

? Is there any intriguing self-portrait we have not mentioned yet? Comment below and let us know about it!


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