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500 Self-Portraits Hardcover – 30 Oct 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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500 Self-Portraits
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 548 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (30 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714839590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714839592
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 5.1 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,670,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Pensive, haughty, scruffy, scowling, clowning, vamping--artists have always revelled in the inventive freedom of portraying themselves. Younger painters lacking paying sitters often made good use of a mirror and a talent for making faces. Older painters--most famously, Rembrandt--searched beneath their own sagging flesh for the essence of a survivor.

Beginning with its reflective book jacket, which playfully inducts the reader into the ranks of self-portraitists, Five Hundred Self-Portraits is a delight for browsers. Works by famous and obscure artists from the Middle Ages to our own times are organised chronologically, one per page, in this compact volume. The early images demonstrate how self-portraiture evolved from walk-ons (the artist as a bystander in a Nativity scene, say) and occasional co-starring roles (the artist as St Luke, drawing the Virgin Mary) to fully fledged personal appearances by the likes of Dürer and Leonardo.

More than half of the images in the book were painted (or drawn or etched or photographed) during the 19th and 20th centuries. The stiff decorum of earlier periods gave way to a romantic introspection that evolved into neurotic self-absorption and frank exhibitionism. From Gustave Courbet, posing languorously with eyes closed and blood-spotted collar as The Wounded Man, to Jenny Saville, gripping a thick roll of fat on her graffiti-scrawled nude body, artists of the past 150 years have developed a repertory of dramatic strategies for self-display. But few are as quietly effective as 18th-century painter Joshua Reynolds. He peers out at us, one hand shading his eyes, as if dazzled by the blaze of his own genius. --Cathy Curtis


'A rich and sweeping survey ... Perhaps no other book has ever packaged such a colourful range of self-depictions as this one.' (San Francisco Chronicle)

'A book of fascinating images.' (The Artist and Illustrator Magazine)

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