Mastering self-portraits is not an easy task; especially hundreds of years ago like the amazing paintings that we have included below, where there were no cameras that you can use to make references instead the artist had to draw themselves from a mirror or from memory.
Even in this modern day and age, such traditional techniques are still used as they allow the artists today. This allows them to create a more detailed piece of art as they are required to pay more attention.
Moreover, the beauty of self-portraits is that only you know yourself the best, therefore you are able to much better capture the emotions that you are feeling at that particular moment of time.
We will be telling you about the best such paintings with self-portraits of famous painters.
Painting Title: Self-Portrait, Jan Steen. Painter: Jan Havickszoon Steen. Date Created: 1670. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
This self-portrait was completed in 1670; it shows the painter sitting on a chair sideways with his right elbow and left hand placed over the back of the chair. Jan Steen is dressed in all black with a white collar and underclothing, Steen has portrayed himself as confident with a straight posture and stern look in front of him.
Behind him, in the painting, there is a red curtain and greenery located to the right far away in the distance. This is one of the rare paintings of Jan Steen as it is a serious painting, Steen is known for being a comedic painter that makes fun of society and also himself.
Steen was born in 1626 in the city of Leiden which is also the birthplace of other influential Dutch artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn who was born 20 years earlier. During his career Steen focused on creating what is known as genre paintings which are paintings that portray everyday life. However, his paintings are also very diverse; they include historical, landscape, and still-life scenes.
Painting Title: Self-Portrait, Ferdinand Bol. Painter: Ferdinand Bol. Date Created: 1669. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Ferdinand Bol is another famous painter from the Netherlands; he was born in the city of Dordrecht in the South of the Netherlands. He was born in a wealthy family thanks to his father being a surgeon. After 1630 after he finished his apprenticeship and school he moved in order to train with famous Dutch painter van Rijn.
By 1640, Bol had founded his very own studio where he painted for clients and also created his own artworks as a hobby. Throughout his career, the art style of Bol evolved, as he got older his color palette became lighter and he had substantially improved his ability to paint people in an elegant way.
In this self-portrait you see Bol standing with his right hand supported by what looks like a walking stick while his left arm is gently rested on a marble sculpture of a mythological being known as a Cupid which in the Ancient Roman religion was the god of love.
Furthermore, Bol is wearing a luxurious robe that signifies that he is upper class. In the background to the right, you have a large pillar that supports the frame of the building that he is standing in; this pillar is another sign of his wealth.
Painting Title: Self-Portrait, Louis Meijer. Painter: Johan Hendrik Louis Meijer. Date Created: 1838. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The third painting that we have featured in this article is by Louis Meijer who is a Dutch painter that lived much later than most of the other artists featured.
Meijer was born in 1809 and passed away in 1866 at the age of 57, he lived most of his life in his native Amsterdam, but towards the later periods, he immigrated to the cities of The Hague and Utrecht that also happen to be in the Netherlands.
He was primarily involved in the art style of Dutch Romanticism in which the beauty of objects are exaggerated and the world is displayed as what it ideally would be like according to the artist themselves.
Louis Meijer portrays himself in the process of creating a naval painting with a boat and a small piece of land being visible in the painting that he is creating. On his lap, there is a small dog that he is embracing with his right hand making sure that it doesn’t fall off and hurt itself. His legs are also crossed with his left arm firmly placed on top of one of his legs, with a ring being visible on that hand.
Furthermore, behind him to the right you are able to see what looks like a chest with a paint mixing palette and a large number of brushes and there is also a golden curtain to his left.
Painting Title: Self-Portrait, Willem Hendrik Schmidt. Painter: Willem Hendrik Schmidt. Date Created: 1840-1849. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Next, we have a self-portrait by Willem Hendrik Schmidt; this painting was created sometime between 1840 and 1849. He was born in the city of Rotterdam where he spent the majority of his career.
His self-portrait is one of his most well-known artworks, the other being a painting called the ‘Raising of Jairus’s Daughter’ which is a painting of a scene of a miracle in the Bible that is cited numerous times by multiple authors of the book.
Schmidt presents himself in his artwork as about to start painting on a blank canvas, in his right hand, he is holding a paintbrush while in his right hand he is holding a painter’s stick which is a simple stick that is used to steady the hand that is painting. On the top of his head, Schmidt is wearing a dark red hat that is holding his hair out of his face and a dark black coat.
While in the background you can see a long white curtain. The facial expression of Schmidt looks like he is shocked or surprised, which is likely done on purpose by him in order to try and make the painting feel more real.
Painting Title: Self-Portrait of an Artist, Gerard van Honthorst. Painter: Gerard van Honthorst. Date Created: 1655. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Finally, in this article about paintings with self-portraits of famous painters we have the artwork of Gerard van Honthorst. In the painting you see van Honthorst sitting in a red chair, in his right hand, he has a drawing pen while in his right hand he is holding a piece of paper that has a drawing that he happens to be working on.
Furthermore, there is a table covered by a tablecloth covered with red, yellow, and orange patterns. On top of the table, there is a medallion that is seen dangling from the edge, there is also a head made from plaster as well as an anatomical model of a man that is generally used for education.
Van Honthorst himself is wearing a jet black coat with a white collar, which makes him stand out from the rest of the objects in the painting which happen to be different and brighter colors.
Van Honthorst was born in 1592 and was one of the key painters of what is known as the Dutch Golden Age which saw a major explosion of Dutch culture and art across the world thanks to pioneers such as van Honthorst.
He was involved with painting all of his life, thanks to his father being a decorative painter which is likely where he was first introduced to painting. During his successful career, van Honthorst became the official painter of the children of the sister of King Charles I of England.
Read the article: Paintings with Portraits of the Painter Rembrandt van Rijn