Taking photos of oneself then
instagraming to thousands of your closest ‘besties’
is indicative of the self promotion age in which we live.
Yet the concept of the ‘selfie’, as one way
by which we remind others that we think very highly of ourselves,
is not a new phenomenon.
The ‘selfie’ is a modern take on a long tradition of self- portraiture.
Artists have long left works of self-projection:
a painting on canvas
representing an image of self.
These works served as:
self advertisement (self-promotion)
and as window to glimpse an aspect
of personality, character, thought, emotion.
With a mirror in one hand
and paintbrush in the other,
artists have captured images of self
for viewers to reflect on and to empathize with.
Three magnificent Renaissance artists
Titian (1485 – 1576)
Tintoretto (1518 – 1594)
Veronese (1528 – 1588)
lived and painted in Venice, Italy.
Each produced great works of art
in fresco, painting and portraiture.
All three painted ‘selfies’- Renaissance style.
Titian mastered three subject genres in his paintings:
religious, mythological, portraiture
of which the later occupied the last
twenty-five years of his life.
Famed in his lifetime for his use of brushwork and colour,
Titian also produced wonderful ‘selfies’.
(images from italian-renaissance-art.com):
Portrait of a man (self portrait ?) by Titian
This exquisite painting of a young man in side view,
robed in a powder blue quilted shirt
who seems quite taken with himself.
The painting is believed to be a self portrait –
Titian staring out at the viewer with self-satisfied expression.
Self portrait of an older Titian
In side profile, oblivious of viewer,
with instrument of his status of painter (paintbrush) in hand
Titian seems intent on his own thoughts and preoccupations.
Portraits of artists became popular with
collectors during the Renaissance.
“Selfies” of the great masters were
highly sort after.
Self-Portrait as a Young Man
by Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto
This early and forceful self-portrait,
by Tintoretto was done with the aid of a mirror.
(image and quote from vam.ac.uk):
Side glance, challenging, confident
(image from nationalgallery.org.uk):
Self portrait: an older Tintoretto
master of light, shade, colour
(image from artble.com):
Veronese self portrait: a steady gaze
View works by Veronese at:
Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice
National Gallery, London
until 15 June 2014