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Self image

Devised by Sadie Lee & Liz Rideal


This part of the website deals with both male and female self-portraits - almost all of the examples are taken from the National Portrait Gallery collection. All the images are self-portraits.

For an exclusively feminine view see... Mirror Mirror

Mary Beale
by Mary Beale
circa 1666
NPG 1687

A self-portrait can be as varied and limitless as our imaginations. It is more than a mere mirror reflection. A self-portrait can be an exact likeness or an abstract whirl of thoughts and feelings. It has the potential to create a myth, tell a story, suggest sadness or joy. A self-portrait is a person's version of themselves.


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Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.

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Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.

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