The self as a subject is one of the most fascinating and fruitful of artistic enterprises. From the 15th century to today, this collection brings together some of the best examples of self-portraiture to explore the genre’s evolution over the centuries as well as the enduring questions of selfhood and self-representation that have besieged human experience for centuries before social media and the selfie. Is a self-portrait of an artist a medium of reflection? Or is it merely a black void, the “false mirror,” as the Surrealist René Magritte entitled his 1928 painting of an eye? How much does it impart about contemporary notions of beauty, power, and status? From Albrecht Dürer to Egon Schiele, Fra Filippo Lippi to Frida Kahlo, this far-reaching collection explores the numerous ways in which artists have taken themselves as subjects, the variety of ingenious methods and perspectives they have used, and the intriguing questions they raise.
Ernst Rebel first graduated at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in painting, graphic design, and art education in 1976. Subsequently he studied art history, philosophy and classical archaeology at the University of Munich. In 1979 he took his doctorate in art history, wrote his professorial thesis in 1988 and since 1992 has been professor of art history and art education at the University of Munich. He has produced numerous publications on the history of prints, on the art and life of Albrecht Dürer and on topics in the theory and teaching of art.