Self PortraitsArtists: Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Kathe Kollwitz, and Frida Kahlo.
RembrandtDutch Baroque Era Painter, Baroque art is realistic and shows emotion naturally.Rembrandt is given credit for being the first artist to intensely study himself through art. During his life time, 1606-1669, Rembrandt sketched his own face thousands of times. He created a legacy of 60 self-portraits
Self Portrait, 1629. This is his first Self-portrait.
Self Portrait as a Young Man, 1634 Why did he paint so many self-portraits?One suggestion is that as a young and struggling artist, Rembrandt was the most readily available model. He could paint himself anytime, anywhere without having to pay or rely on a professional model.
Another reason could be that Rembrandt often painted his own face deep in shadows or with a grimacing expressions, techniques that he certainly could not explore on the portrait of a wealthy client.
Vincent Van GoghDutch Post-Impressionist Painter, 1853-1890, Post-Impressionism is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of artists who were influenced by Impressionism but took their art in other directions.Impressionism is a loose, spontaneous manner of painting. Monet Water lillies
Vincent van Gogh is as famous for his self-portraits as Rembrandt, though instead of creating them over a life time, he painted the majority of them, twenty-two in all, during two years.
Van Gogh's images during that period (1886-1888) and for the two years before his suicide in 1890, painted self-portraits capturing detailed emotions of shock, disturbance, tranquility or confusion.Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin ,1888
He even captured his own image, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Head, (1889) after his infamous mutilation of his ear.
In it, he appears troubled and somewhat dazed. He appears to be lost within himself, isolated, a sign of how his tragic life would ultimately end. Self-Portrait with Bandaged Head, (1889)
This, the last of his self-portraits, and one of the greatest, was painted only months before his death.
In this painting, the background and the head have been painted with swirls that create a feeling of movement and excitement.
This is a contrast to the facial features which are stern and angry.
Kthe KollwitzGerman Expressionist Printmaker and Sculptor, 1867-1945 Expressionism is a style in which the artist is not just interested in reproducing the subject accurately, but instead in showing the emotion of the artist and the subject.
Kathe Kollwitz, Self-Portrait, 1934.
In Kollwitzs artwork, she expressed the stress and grief of war. She lived and worked during World War One and World War Two. She witnessed death. However she also expressed joy of life.Self-Portrait, Kathe Kollwitz, charcoal drawing, 1924
Kollwitzs artwork is not meant to show her own personal emotion at the time she created the artwork but her desire to show emotion in art and express.Kathe Kollwitz, "Self-Portrait with Hand on Forehead" 1910
Frida KahloMexican Painter, Surrealist, 1907-1954Like Rembrandt and van Gogh, the story of Frida Kahlo can be read in her self-portraits. Approximately one-third of her work is the exploration of her self, physically and mentally.
Kahlo created some fifty-five self-portraits as a kind of therapy to face the most troubling events of her life; her leg crippled from polio, permanent injuries from a bus accident, and botched surgeries. Self-Portrait with Monkey, 1938
In her self-portraits, she could come out from hiding and reveal her troubles in paint. Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky),1937
But unlike Vincent van Gogh, who searched for an answer in his self-portraits, Frida Kahlo knew the answers. She used the canvas as a release of emotion.
When she painted this painting, she said the Mexican image was the Frida that Diego, her husband, loved and the European one is the Frida whom he did not.
Connecting the two Fridas is an artery. The artery starts at a miniature Diego in the Mexican Fridas hand and the European Frida is attempting to stop the blood but is unsuccessful. The Two Fridas, 1939
Not all Self-Portraits were realist, some were abstract.Pablo Picasso, The Artist Before His Canvas, 1938. Marc Chagall. I and the Village, 1911
Self-portraits have been used to test new techniques, launch into self-study, and as a way to release emotion.
Whichever way artists choose to construct their images, they are each forced to study their own personas both physically and emotionally.