Why did Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Degas and most of the important painteres in art history paint so many self portraits?
Was it their inflated egos? Was it the commodity of an always ready to pose model? Was it the need to see themselves as they were? The need to ponctuate a certain moment in their life as humans and as artists? (and how to separe their humanity from their artistry? It’s one…)
Didn’t Vincent Van Gogh paint two self portraits with the freshly cut ear bandaged? Splendid self portrait, by the way… to prove himself and the world that he may have lost a small part of flesh and some sanity but not his ability – no, more than that – not his VOCATION to create art?
Didn’t Rembrandt represent himself just as he was, a sad, worn out but somehow wiser old man, ravaged by the loses (and I do not mean financial loses: loses of wife, loved one and son…) but still kicking, still able to create great art with just a bit of burnt omber and gold yellow?
After so illustrious examples, to speak about my own self-portrait (when I was almost 24 years old) could seem an impiety. Well, it is not. What do you want? to compare myself with Bougereau and Cabanel? I still have to prove myself to the world (probably it will never happen but I’ll be damned not to try!)
This is a 60 cm x 25 cm (about), tempera on canvas, and it’s very red in the original. Unfortunately I don’t have but this BW reproduction… And the year is 1979 (almost 1980). I was a History student and I have just met my future (and only) wife, Norica…