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Comparison of Self-Portraits and Their Importance During the 18th Century

Essay by   •  March 11, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  272 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,286 Views

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In Albrecht Durer's Self-Portrait, made in 1500 using oil on wood panelling, we see that the artist regards himself as a great individual worthy of praise. Durer made this painting after he had visited Italy during 1494-95. There he was introduced to the "idealism" associated with art. He was also introduced to the concept that the artist was their own, independent creative genius. Durer represents himself as an idealized, Chirst-like figure. His pose is harshly frontal, looking directly at the viewer with a look that says, "I am great. Dare to defy me." His robes are richly lined with fur and he has given himself flowing curls that only enhance the idea that he is great. Durer is, in every way, shape, and form, representing the respect and reverence that artists had during the sixteenth century.

Diego Velazquez's Las Meninas was made in 1656 using oil on canvas. This painting is more than just a portrait of a princess. It is a painting of a king and queen stepping into the artist's studio. At the same time, this painting serves as a self portrait of Velazquez standing at his easel. Las Meninas seems to have been a personal statement on Velazquez's part, not a "true court portrait." Velazquez had always sought respect and praise for himself and for his art. In this painting he depicted himself as a courtier of high status with the insignia of the Order of Santiago on his chest and the keys to the palace on the sash around his waist. In this painting Velasquez "proclaimed the dignity and importance of painting as one of the liberal arts."

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