This books approach to self-portraiture is through a broad cultural survey. From the earliest myths of Narcissus and the Christian tradition of ‘bearing witness’ to the prolific self-image-making of today’s contemporary artists, James Hall maps the fascinating and ongoing history of self-portraiture.
The author reveals the importance of the medieval ‘mirror craze’; the confessional self-portraits of Titian and Michelangelo; the role of biography for serial self-portraitists such as Courbet and van Gogh; themes of sex and genius in works by Munch and Bonnard; and the latest developments in our globalized age. The full range of self-portraits is extensively covered, from comic and caricature self-portraits to ‘invented’ or imaginary ones, and Hall looks deeply into the worlds and mindsets of the artists who have created them. Offering a rich and lively history, this is an essential read for all those interested in this most enduringly popular and humane of art forms.