First, watch and read the following videos and texts about the Netherlandish artist Jan Van Eyck.

First, watch and read the following videos and texts about the Netherlandish artist Jan Van Eyck. Van Eyck was one of the first artists to start painting his own picture, called self-portraiture. It was a way for him both to advertise his skills at creating a close likeness, and allowed him to explore the idea of psychology in painting:


Jan Van Eyck, Biography

Jan Van Eyck, The Man in the Red Turban

Self-Portraits became popular during the Renaissance, as individualism and humanism became entrenched in Western culture. During this period the identity of the artist becomes fetishized, and the social status of artists becomes elevated from “mere” craftsperson to visionary genius. Self-Portraits became a way to advertise one’s skill, and to build a brand and business around one’s talent and reputation.


In a way, the selfie is a form of self-portrait that technology has allowed us to make cheaply, without much skill, and on a vast scale. We take for granted the ability to document and mythologize our lives, but this widespread practice is a fairly recent phenomenon. Looking at the self-portraiture of the past helps us better understand the way we represent ourselves.


For this assignment choose a work from any period or culture in the history of art that is a self-portrait. Provide the Artist, Title, Date, and Material of the self-portrait, and a short description of why you enjoy this work of art. Reasons could include the biography of the artist inspires you, and/or the way the work is made.


Here is an example of mine: (attatched down below)


Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1975, Photograph.


Mapplethorpe is one of my heroes. This self-portrait captures every ounce of the impish charm, clever wit, and erotic magnetism that I imagine he possessed. The way he smiles is so captivating, it makes me want to smile too. The composition of the photograph is dynamic, making ample use of negative space and an obtuse angle created by the intersection of the subject’s arm and torso. While the gesture immediately recalls the crucifixion of Christ, Mapplethorpe is yet joyful. Mapplethorpe was not only a talented artist, but a committed social justice warrior for the LGBTQ+ community during the 1980’s, and used his photographs to depict the sexual desires of gay men, women and non-binary queer folk.

First, watch and read the following videos and texts about the Netherlandish artist Jan Van Eyck.

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