The Bravest Painters I Know…

…are ones that paint self-portraits. As we all well know, artists have a lot of firepower at their disposal. It comes from being trained to look critically and creatively at the things you see. For an artist to turn that kind of acuity on him- or herself says a lot about who they are and what they want to be.

Two cases in point:

Self-portrait by Rembrandt, oil painting Rembrandt: He went through amazing successes and debilitating poverty in his career, and he documented the marks that those experiences left on him in his self-portraiture. I find looking at his paintings to be quite an intimate experience because the artist gives an unvarnished look at himself most of the time. They can be uncomfortable, sympathetic, and impressive, but I don't think anyone could doubt how much of an artist he is.
Self-portrait by Frida Kahlo, oil painting. Frida Kahlo: Her self-portrait paintings take me on a hell of a ride. I mean, the amount of vulnerability and unsparing exposure she showed about her relationships, body crises, and mental state boggle my mind. But Kahlo, no matter how painful or tragic the circumstances she was depicting, always found a way to turn her personal experiences into art. Her self-portraits reflect that.


Right now, American Artist is holding a contest in honor of all of the great self-portraiture being done by contemporary artists. I'd love to see your work among the entries. Enter now!



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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.