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500 Self-Portraits Paperback – 1 Feb 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 548 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; Reprint edition (1 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714843849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714843841
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 5.4 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

‘a book of fascinating images’
The Artist and Illustrator Magazine

About the Author

Julian Bell, grandson of the British artist Vanessa Bell, is a painter and writer. He is the author of Bonnard (1994) in Phaidon's colour library series and What is Painting? Representation and Modern Art (1999), and a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, Modern Painters and the Guardian.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
This fat book is a collection of self-portraits from the earliest times to the present day. The first is from an egyptian tomb - how we know it is a self-portrait we aren't told. We have early medieval reliefs, and a monk showing himself working in an illuminated manuscript. In the large-scale frescoes, we get the whole picture, then the detail showing the artist's own likeness. All this is a surprise; many books will tell you that the earliest self-portrait is Durer's.

Durer is of course here, the drawing done when he was 12, three youthful self-portaits and an excoriating nude drawing done in middle age. Rembrandt too, 10 of them, as we'd expect. And we roll forward through the centuries, every European self-portrait the editor could assemble, famous and obscure (4 from Van Gogh, 4 from Picasso) into the 20th century, till we end up with, among others, Ron Mueck's giant "Head", Marc Quin's "Self" (the frozen blood), and Helen Chadwick re-examining the traditional nude.

There are many layers of astonishment in this collection. The simple (oh, that's what he looked like!), the fundamental similarities in the mood of the images, across centuries and styles, and the philosophical - what IS it about the human face, the human identity, that obsesses us endlessly? The short introduction sets the tone with the opening sentence; "I have a face, but a face is not what I am". Apart from these first few pages, the images aren't interpreted, annotated or connected one with another; we have simply the artist, title, date, medium and location. This leaves us free to use and interpret them in our own ways. A stimulating and somehow sombre book that you will come back to again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Deaddog11 on 8 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A small book that is very informative about Self Portraits. But a bit dry in delivery and content. Not one to incite a passion for Art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Edgeworth on 12 April 2011
Format: Paperback
4 STARS!

COULD DO WITH HAVING A LITTLE BIT MORE INFO ABOUT EACH PIECE OF ART, BUT OVERALL A GOOD BOOK TO FLICK THROUGH.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JohanDerycke on 10 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great chronological overview of self-portraits.
Some minor questions I have like why there are 4 self-portraits of Van Gogh and the famous self-portrait of Bouguereau for example is missing
I just wish it was a little bit bigger, but all in all it's a great book to have.
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Format: Paperback
What a wonderful idea - and so well executed. Consistently surprising and entertaining. Includes some sculptures too. What's not to like?
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