In this broad cultural survey, James Hall brilliantly maps the history of self-portraiture, from the earliest myths of Narcissus and the Christian tradition of `bearing witness' to the prolific self-image-making of today's contemporary artists. Along the way he reveals the importance of the medieval `mirror craze'; the confessional self-portraits of Titian and Michelangelo; the role of biography for serial self-portraitists such as Courbet and van Gogh; themes of sex and genius in works by Munch and Bonnard; and the latest developments in our globalized age. Hall covers the full range of self-portraits, from comic and caricature self-portraits to `invented' or imaginary ones, and looks deeply into the worlds and mindsets of the artists who have created them. Offering a rich and lively history, this is an essential read for all those interested in this most enduringly popular and humane of art forms.
Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:
01 October 2015
Introduction * Prelude: Self-Portraiture in Antiquity * 1. Medieval Origins * 2. A Craze for Mirrors * 3. The Artist in Society * 4. The Renaissance Artist as Hero * 5. Mock- Heroic Self-Portraits * 6. The Artist's Studio * 7. At the Crossroads * 8. Coming Home: Into the Nineteenth Century * 9. Sex and Genius * 10. Beyond the Face: Modern and Contemporary Self-Portraits
Reviews for The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History
'There is never a dull passage in this book ... Hall manages to retain the intellectual high ground while writing with verve and enthusiasm ' - Frances Spalding, Guardian 'Spirited ... the book's readability and the depth of research give it an engaging pace that makes it especially refreshing' - The Art Newspaper 'Stimulating ... Hall writes with energetic freshness ... a highly engaged book that raises many questions about this intriguing and still-active genre. It deserves to be widely read' - Literary Review 'Enthralling ... Scattering insights on all sides, Hall's narrative advances through the centuries with masterly vigour' - Observer 'Fascinating, erudite and beautifully produced' - Sunday Times 'Wide-ranging, richly researched and evocatively illustrated ... It is as varied, revelatory and idiosyncratic as the genre which it takes as its subject' - The Times