Quick studies in pencil. To avoid looking straight at myself as I drew I set up two mirrors so that I could get a different angle.
This proved a bit tricky, I need a bigger mirror, but gave me an interesting angle although I had to crouch on the floor to see myself.
This is definitely my best attempt. In real life it looked ok but when scanned it made me look as though I was wrinkling my nose as though there was a bad smell so I've tampered with this versionI looked at Rembrandt's many self portraits. The reason did so many is not known though there is an attempt to explain them here it appears that portraits of famous people were popular (celebrity culture is nothing new) and saleable. The concept of the self as an independent entity did not exist until many years after his depth so the attempt to explain them as a series of self analysis is unlikely to be correct. Whatever their reason or purpose they are a striking set of images that give an insight into the man who painted them.
Van Gogh painted self portraits for practice and enquiry because he couldn't afford models. He was prolific, trying to gain a reputation which would lead to commissions and payment for his work.
When asked why she painted so many self portraits (55) Frida Kalo said "Because I am so often alone....because I am the subject I know best." There is a summary here of a number of artists over a number of years. The Guardian claims that these are the top 10 self portraits, I'm not sure that I agree, it's a pretty bold statement. I was particularly drawn to Artemisia Gentileschi's painting which is purposeful and powerful and at an unusual angle, I guess she used mirrors? This pastel drawing by Degas is subtle but you feel the intensity of his enquiring gaze. I've also become excited by Zinaida Serebriakova who I found completely by accident. She painted and drew figures, still lives and landscapes. Her self portrait At the dressing table doesn't look like a self portrait at all and shows her mastery of draughtsmanship. Tracey Emin is very interesting. She has a lot to say and a big personality to maintain but underneath she is a skilled artist and that can get overlooked. I loved her drawings. I remember an old art teacher who had seen the My Bed installation commenting on the quality of the watercolours that were part of the display, I'm afraid I never saw it myself. Her self portraits don't follow the expected form and I love her Self portrait as a small bird Who says that self portraits have to be representative?
Phillip Butah is a contemporary artist who draws accurate portraits but leaves the edges unfinished and a lot of the paper unfilled. The results avoid photorealism by leaving the pencil marks visible and placing the face in an abstract environment. He has drawn himself regularly and it's not always clear whether his drawings are of himself or a model. I love his work