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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

titian young man in blue italian-renaissance-art.com471px-Tizian_078

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

Titian-oldman- italian-renaissance-art.com self-portrait

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):

selfie tintoretta young man 1548 (1518-1594(4949-large

Side glance, challenging, confident

(image from nationalgallery.org.uk):

Self  portrait:  an older Tintoretto

tintoretto old nationalgallery.org.uk-jacopo-c-face-2-half


 master of light,  shade,  colour

(image from artble.com):

paolo_veronese 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