Wednesday, April 2, 2014

18th Century Selfies...revealing self-portraits

Clearly, this yawning self-portrait of Joseph Ducreux,
1783, shows the artist did not take himself too seriously.
In this age of cell phone selfies popping up all over the Web capturing self-portraits of celebrities, wannabe celebrities, teenagers, adults, toddlers (who've grabbed their parents phones to imitate them with often hilarious parodies of said parents,) and even shamed political figures one would think would know better, I pondered the selfies of former days. Of course, those selfies were created by accomplished artists. What do those self-portraits say about their subjects, the artists themselves? I'm sure many of them were honest portrayals but, even before the days of photo-shopped enhancements, there must have been the temptation to paint one's self in the most flattering light. So, this week I've searched the Internet and harvested a few of those 18th century selfies for your edification and enjoyment:
Judging by these self-portraits of Decreux, this one from 1793, the artist
had quite a sense of humor. But there's something about his expression, here, that
makes me think I wouldn't want to get on his wrong side and become the butt of his jokes.
I can imagine the title for this self-portrait as Gotcha! 
Now, here is an artist who took himself VERY seriously but you
probably would have too if you'd been Jacques-Louis David painting
 this while imprisoned during the French Revolution in 1784.


Blame my art history ignorance but, until I began hunting down 18th century artists for my research, I was unaware of the number of accomplished female artists of the era. Here, in all their finery, are just a couple I ran across:

Yes, female artists of the time were expected to paint dressed up in their
 fashionable ensembles as seen here in Adelaide Labille-Guiard's self-portrait 
with pupils in 1784. 
(I can't even eat a bowl of spaghetti without splattering it all over my clothes!)

This beauty, Marie-Gabrielle Capet, appears to like what she sees 
in her 1783 self-portrait, but who could blame her?


I ran across a number of self-portraits, male and female, featuring artists 
shading their eyes as here with Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1745.

Perhaps those artists plagued with sun in their eyes should have followed 
the example of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin as seen in his 1775 self-portrait
 wearing a clever visor and, take note ladies, protecting his hair with a turban!

Gotta love a man who puts his dog before him!
 This is the self-portrait of Englishman, William Hogarth with his pug, Trump, in 1745.

The Author's 18th Century Selfie 
(with a little help from Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun)

Have a good week, dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...Y'all come back now! 

Kate

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