Monday, June 5, 2017

Several Self Portraits

Peter Lely
Self Portrait
ca. 1665
drawing, colored chalks
private collection

Peter Paul Rubens
Self Portrait in old age
ca. 1633-40
oil on canvas
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Carlo Maratti
Self Portrait
ca. 1675
drawing, colored chalks
Albertina, Vienna

"It is the common wonder of all men, how among so many millions of faces, there should be none alike; Now contrary, I wonder as much how there should be any; he that shall consider how many thousand severall words have been carelessly and without study composed out of 24 Letters; withall how many hundred lines there are to be drawn in the fabrick of one man; shall easily finde that this variety is necessary: And it will bee very hard that they shall so concur as to make one portract like another.  Let a Painter carelessly limn out a Million of faces, and you shall finde them all different; yea lete him have his copy before him, yet after all his art there will remain a sensible distinction; for the patterne or example of every thing is the perfectest in that kind, whereof wee still come short, though wee transcend or goe beyond it, because herein it is wide and agrees not in all points unto its Copy.  Nor doth the similitude of creatures disparage the variety of nature, nor any way confound the workes of God.  For even in things alike, there is diversitie, and those that doe seeme to accord, doe manifestly disagree.  And thus is Man like God, for in the same things that wee resemble him, wee are utterly different from him.  There was never any thing so like another, as in all points to concurre; there will ever some reserved difference slip in, to prevent the Identity, without which, two severall things would not be alike, but the same, which is impossible."

 from Religio Medici (1635) by the celestial Sir Thomas Browne

Jonathan Richardson Senior
Self Portrait
ca. 1733
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta
Self Portrait
Albertina, Vienna

Gaetano Sabatini
Self Portrait
ca. 1734
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Manuel Bayeu
Self Portrait
ca. 1780-90
oil on canvas
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona


Fame like a wayward girl will still be coy
   To those who woo her with too slavish knees
   But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy
And dotes the more upon a heart at ease 
She is a Gipsey will not speak to those
   Who have not learnt to be content without her,
A Jilt whose ear was never whisper'd close
   Who think they scandal her who talk about her 
A very Gipsey is she Nilus born,
Sister in law to jealous Potiphar 
Ye lovesick Bards, repay her scorn for scorn.
Ye lovelorn Artists, madmen that ye are,
Make your best bow to her and bid adieu
Then if she like it she will follow you 

John Keats (1795-1821)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Self Portrait at age twenty-four
oil on canvas
Musée Condé, Chantilly

Moritz Daniel Oppenheim
Self Portrait
oil on canvas
Jewish Museum, New York

William Etty
Self Portrait
oil on paper, mounted on panel
Yale Center for British Art

George Richmond
Self Portrait
ca. 1840
oil on canvas
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge


It was hidden in her and it gave Kant pleasure.
L'Eclisse begins with a wind blowing Monica Vitti's hair. She is inside a room.

Kant's was a partly negative pleasure.
Where is that wind from?

Kant took pleasure in what he called Thing in Itself. 
She is prowling the room with her eyes down, observed deeply
by a man in an armchair.

Thing in Itself was unattainable, insurmountable.
She keeps trying to leave the room.

Nor could Thing in Itself be represented.
Curtains are drawn, the room is full of objects, lamps are burning here
and there, who knows what hour of the night it may be? Her hair blows slowly.

Yet through the very failure of its representation, Thing in Itself might be
inscribed within phenomena.
She lifts a piece of paper, puts it down.

Kant noted a rustling aside of sensible barriers.
Her unquiet drifts in her, spills, drifts on.

A rotating fan is shown sitting on the table beside the man in the armchair.
Kant felt weak as a wave.

Now she can leave. The surface of the movie relaxes.
Kant let his soul expand.

She walks out into the filthy daylight.
Kant pulled his hat down firmly. 

She is a little ashamed but glad to be walking.
Off into this more difficult dawn. 

 Anne Carson, from Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera (New York : Knopf, 2005)

Mary Cassatt
Self Portrait
ca. 1880
gouache, watercolor
National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC

Émile Bernard
Self Portrait with Portrait of Gauguin
oil on canvas
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Lovis Corinth
Self Portrait with Skeleton
oil on canvas
Lenbachhaus, Munich

In Ebon Box, when years have flown
To reverently peer
Wiping away the velvet dust
Summers have sprinkled there!

To hold a letter to the light 
Grown Tawny  now  with time 
To con the faded syllables
That quickened us like Wine!

Perhaps a Flower's shrivelled cheek
Among its stores to find 
Plucked far away, some morning 
By gallant  mouldering hand!

A curl, perhaps, from foreheads
Our constancy forgot 
Perhaps, an antique trinket 
In vanished fashions set!

And then to lay them quiet back 
And go about its care 
As if the little Ebon Box
Were none of our affair!

 Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)