The Self-PortraitA Cultural History By James Hall 自畫像文化史
176 Thames & Hudson and the Phaidon Press 漢清講堂 2017-06-29
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漢清講堂2017-06-29 Thames & Hudson and the Phaidon Press 兩家出版社簡介Phaidon was founded in Vienna in 1923 as a ...
The Self-PortraitA Cultural History
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Artwork: 120 illustrations in color and black and white
Size: 6.4 in x 9.3 in x 1.3 in
Published: April 22nd, 2014
E-book Available: Yes
This broad cultural history of self-portraiture brilliantly maps the history of the genre, from the earliest myths of Narcissus and the Christian tradition of “bearing witness” to the prolific self-image-making of today’s contemporary artists.
Focusing on a perennially popular subject, the book tells the vivid history of works that offer insights into artists’ personal, psychological, and creative worlds. Topics include the importance of the medieval mirror craze in early self-portraiture; the confessional self-portraits of Titian and Michelangelo; the mystique of the artist’s studio, from Vermeer to Velázquez; the role of biography and geography for serial self-portraitists such as Courbet and Van Gogh; the multiple selves of modern and contemporary artists such as Cahun and Sherman; and recent developments in the era of globalization.
Comprehensive and beautifully illustrated, the book features the work of a wide range of artists including Beckmann, Caravaggio, Dürer, Gentileschi, Ghiberti, Giotto, Goya, Kahlo, Kauffman, Magritte, Mantegna, Picasso, Poussin, Raphael, Rembrandt and Van Eyck. The full range of the subject is explored, including comic and caricature self-portraits, “invented” or imaginary self-portraits, and important collections of self-portraiture such as that of the Medici.
The Self-Portrait: a Cultural History by James Hall, review
The self-portrait invites the viewer to meet the gaze of its creator, making it the most compelling of all artistic genres
Every artist of every style and period has had a crack at a self-portrait at one time or another. For the artist the interest of the self-as-subject is often expedient: a model they don’t have to pay; a convenient alternative to yet another arrangement of crockery or flowers.
But for the viewer, the self-portrait opens up a potent range of possibilities: the artist is seen looking into the soul of the person they know best (one would hope), who they care about most (inevitably) and with whom they have the most perplexing relationship – themselves. Meeting their gaze, we take on their position, seated in their chair or standing at their easel; viewer becomes artist in an exchange of roles that makes this perhaps the most compelling of all artistic genres.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the self-portrait is essentially a historical phenomenon, but James Hall begins his lively cultural history with the challenging assertion that “self-portraiture has become the defining visual genre of our confessional age: the sheer volume of contemporary self-portraits defies enumeration”.
This might seem improbable, until you realise that Hall is including conceptual art in his remit – pieces such as Tracey Emin’s self-obsessed Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, a small tent with the names of her lovers appliqued onto the inside. His aim is to define the self-portrait as broadly as possible, starting in the early Middle Ages – several centuries before the “invention” of self-portraiture, generally agreed to have been around 1400 – and ending in our own time, when representational painting and sculpture have become niche activities; but the idea that the artist is their art is all-pervading.
The notion of the artist constructing themselves as a character in their own work may sound like an arch postmodern conceit, but from the late 15th century artists were manipulating their self-images, making themselves appear older or younger to suit their purposes, taking on fictional and biblical roles to heighten their brand profiles. Andrea Mantegna, the “richest and most famous artist of the time”, portrayed himself as a grim-faced Roman in his memorial bust, “his tumescent bulldog features” conveying a “visceral machismo”. Comparing himself in the accompanying inscription to Apelles, court artist of Alexander the Great, he brought the reflected glory of the Greek conqueror on himself and his patrons, the Gonzagas.
Albrecht Dürer, the first great career self-portraitist and a shameless narcissist and megalomaniac, painted himself with flowing crinkly locks in an unforgettable image that is generally considered “Christlike”, though as Hall waspishly points out, his personal grooming is far from humble: “his permed hair, plucked eyebrows, waxed handlebar moustache and trimmed beard are a tour de force of the barber’s art.”
This being a “cultural history”, these great painters take their places in a stream of personalities, many of them minor by conventional standards, such as Thomas Patch, an English landscape painter who portrayed himself as an ox, or the 16th-century proto-surrealist Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo. Literary, philosophical and social context becomes as important to Hall as the intentions of the artist, leading to intriguing insights and off-the-wall facts. Van Gogh’s paintings of the chairs he and Gauguin used are, Hall claims, surrogate portraits, informed by Renaissance ideas of dexter and sinister; Gauguin’s stoneware jug in the form of his own severed head alludes both to Vincent’s sliced-off ear and his witnessing of the guillotining of a “glamorous” multiple murderer named Prado who claimed to be the illegitimate son of Napoleon III.
Jeff Koons’s contention that “My art and my life are totally one” might almost have come from the lips of Gauguin. Koons’s Jeff and Ilona (Made in Heaven), a grotesquely kitsch, life-size, polychrome wood tableau of himself and his porn-star wife La Cicciolina in sexual congress, appears in this context as a kind of postmodern updating of Gauguin’s jug. Indeed, among many “subconscious, disguised and surrogate” contemporary self-portraits, Hall finds surprisingly direct examples of the form from the likes of Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Gilbert & George. In the Japanese artist Tatsumi Orimoto’s touching photographic self-portraits with his elderly mother, Hall finds echoes of Dürer, whose paintings of himself and his elderly mother were exhibited side by side.
Hall’s range of references is polymathic and his writing often pithy, but the democratically even tone – in which geniuses and nonentities are accorded the same level of interest – can feel monotonous. The book gives a good account of the role of the self-portrait in the elevation of the artist from craftsman to cultural hero. Yet Hall is so keen to avoid aggrandising the better known figures that you’re left yearning for a contrast between what’s of historical interest and what’s genuinely extraordinary. Occasionally you wish he’d let his dispassionate scholarly mask drop and scream out, “This is a freaking masterpiece!”
Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, also known as Autoritratto in veste di Pittura or simply La Pittura, was painted by the Italian Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-Portrait_as_the_Allegory_of_Painting
奧拉濟奧 (hc案：Orazio，Artemisia Gentileschi的父親) 是英格蘭女王亨里埃塔 (Henrietta)宮廷的畫家.....上文把"王后"翻譯成"女王.".....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrietta_of_England