Self image: making a self-portrait (1)

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What will you wear ? Some artists dress up for their portraits; not wearing their everyday clothes. Some show themselves naked, others in overalls. What do the clothes you've chosen say about you? Are they an indication of your true self or are they a disguise?
See Portraits in Disguise


Brian Griffin, by Brian Griffin, 1988 - NPG  - © Brian Griffin

Brian Griffin
by Brian Griffin
1988
NPG x125281



Angus McBean as Neptune, by Angus McBean, 1939 - NPG  - © estate of Angus McBean / National Portrait Gallery, London

Angus McBean as Neptune
by Angus McBean
1939
NPG x39301



Will you have props in your portrait that give a sense of your life, interests or personality? Justin Mortimer's 'You & Me', also makes a gentle art historical reference to paintings of Adam and Eve. Will you be holding something or will you include objects or writing in a more abstract way suggesting they're not actually there but are symbolic of thoughts or feelings? For example: Lucy Jones 'Remove your Gaze', The artist writes of this work:

"The title is written in mirror writing on the painting. I have painted some of the props needed in my life. This painting is part of my exploration of the awkwardness and discomfort that the world can have for me, and conversely of my relationship with the world."

'You and Me' by Justin Mortimer, 1994 - © the artist

'You and Me'
by Justin Mortimer, 1994
© the artist




Remove your Gaze by Lucy Jones - © the artist

Remove your Gaze
by Lucy Jones
© the artist



There are also memento mori works suggesting that we consider the short time span of our lives on this earth and the Latin saying Ars Longa, Vita Brevis (which can be roughly translated as Life is short, but art will carry on); in these works skulls symbolize death.

Edward Collier, by Edward Collier, 1683 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Edward Collier
by Edward Collier
1683
NPG 6069

 


'Me and my shadow' by Ron Bowen, 1980

'Me and my shadow'
by Ron Bowen, 1980



 

 
'Self-portrait aged 47' by Liz Rideal, 2001

'Self-portrait aged 47'
by Liz Rideal, 2001




Sarah Lucas (

Sarah Lucas ('Self-Portrait with Skull')
by Sarah Lucas
1997
NPG P884(8)



Will there be a title? This work by Sadie Lee is called 'John Dark - One for sorrow' - the title a word play on Jeanne d'Arc and a tiny portrait of the martyr Joan of Arc can be seen hovering over the sitter's head. John Dark is also a man's name, but apparently the name of this sitter, implying an ambiguous gender. The single magpie is an omen of bad luck as in the children's counting game, 'One for sorrow, two for joy', and is a creature associated with stealing shiny things and possibly something significant for the artist.
'John Dark - One for sorrow' by Sadie Lee, 1998

'John Dark - One for sorrow'
by Sadie Lee, 1998



How will you pose ? What are you implying by your body language? A pose can convey your body language and status.


George Chinnery, by George Chinnery, circa 1840 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

George Chinnery
by George Chinnery
circa 1840
NPG 779

 

 


Angelica Kauffmann, by Angelica Kauffmann, circa 1770-1775 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Angelica Kauffmann
by Angelica Kauffmann
circa 1770-1775
NPG 430



See Mirror, Mirror
What mood are you in? Will your facial expression indicate how you're feeling?

George Romney, by George Romney, circa 1765 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

George Romney
by George Romney
circa 1765
NPG 2814




Mark Boxer, by Mark Boxer, 1976 - NPG  - © estate of Mark Boxer

Mark Boxer
by Mark Boxer
1976
NPG 5920(25)

 

Are you going to let people know that you are the artist?

Sometimes you can tell a self-portrait because the artist has depicted themselves working at an easel or on paper.

Or else joking around as with this image of the cartoonist Gerald Scarfe.

Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, 1805-1810 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg
by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg
1805-1810
NPG 2493

 


Gerald Scarfe, by Gerald Scarfe, 1988 - NPG  - © Gerald Scarfe

Gerald Scarfe
by Gerald Scarfe
1988
NPG 6431



 

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