The Self Portrait: A Cultural History

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The Self Portrait: A Cultural History

by James Hall

WW Norton | April 22, 2014 | Hardcover

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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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.2 in

Published: April 22, 2014

Publisher: WW Norton

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 050023910X

ISBN - 13: 9780500239100

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– More About This Product –

The Self Portrait: A Cultural History

by James Hall

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.2 in

Published: April 22, 2014

Publisher: WW Norton

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 050023910X

ISBN - 13: 9780500239100

From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

James Hall is an art critic and historian whose previous books include The World as Sculpture: The Changing Status of Sculpture from the Renaissance to the Present Day; Michelangelo and the Reinvention of the Human Body; Coffee with Michelangelo; and The Sinister Side: How Left-Right Symbolism Shaped Western Art.

Editorial Reviews

“Think selfies are a new phenomenon? Think again. In Hall’s cultural history of self-portraiture, you’ll find everyone from Michelangelo to Titian to Cindy Sherman.” “[A] splendidly written and valuable study of one of the most psychologically revealing genres in art history.” “Knowing why artists like Rembrandt and Courbet [created self-portraits] is at the heart of art historian James Hall’s book. . . . Hall’s writing is not only accessible for a general audience, but filled with notable insights, including spicy, prurient ones.” “James Hall’s brilliant book . . . traces the evolution and aesthetic development of the form, from Flemish painter Jan van Eyck to Diego Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas.’” “The variety of expression on display here is amazing. . . . Hall carefully unpacks the portraits . . . with anecdotes and histories that bring a new understanding to a vital part of artistic endeavor.” “Hall shows that the creation of self-portraits is a deep-rooted aspect of the creative impulse.” “Art historian James Hall examines the genre of self-portraiture from the Middle Ages to the present, contextualizing the tradition in relation to the cultural climate of its time. This clear, well-researched book is an exceptional choice for everyone from the general reader to the expert in art history.” “A lovely object in itself. . . . The text is
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