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Self-Portrait: A Cultural History (Hardback)
  • Self-Portrait: A Cultural History (Hardback)

Self-Portrait: A Cultural History (Hardback)

Hardback 288 Pages / Published: 24/03/2014
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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.

Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
ISBN: 9780500239100
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 830 g
Dimensions: 233 x 160 x 32 mm

James Hall s brilliant book . . . traces the evolution and aesthetic development of the form, from Flemish painter Jan van Eyck to Diego Velazquez s Las Meninas. "
[A] splendidly written and valuable study of one of the most psychologically revealing genres in art history.
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 informative and accessible.
Features major artists, mostly European, exhibiting themselves in a variety of modes, mostly pictorial, all complemented by effective, descriptive passages in well-wrought prose. . . . Recommended.
This broad cultural survey...shows us how art inspired by the artist's own image has been part of our tradition for centuries....Beautifully illustrated.
Hall intelligently and succinctly analyzes centuries of cultural history, and if the book doesn't much suggest where we're going, it does an exceptional job of pointing out where we've been.
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.
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 Velazquez's 'Las Meninas.'
James Hall provides a lively cultural interpretation of the genre from the Middle Ages to today. But rather than provide a series of 'greatest hits, ' he is more concerned with the reasons why artists create self-portraits.
While numerous texts have been written about many of the individual artists (and their self-portraits) the scope of the text is unique. . . . [The] inclusion of lesser known artists and media is one of the strengths of Hall's research, and the historic context provided demonstrates his extensive knowledge.

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