Five Hundred Self-Portraits from Antique Times to the Present Day, in Sculpture, Painting, Drawing and Engraving

Five Hundred Self-Portraits from Antique Times to the Present Day, in Sculpture, Painting, Drawing and Engraving

Five Hundred Self-Portraits from Antique Times to the Present Day, in Sculpture, Painting, Drawing and Engraving

Five Hundred Self-Portraits from Antique Times to the Present Day, in Sculpture, Painting, Drawing and Engraving

Excerpt

Much has been said and written on the subject of artists' self-portraits. The attraction they have afforded to the general observer is no less understandable than their importance to the general writer or the comprehensive psychologist. An opportunity, moreover, was offered here to apply common principles to the history of the development of different forms of art: there was the convenient comparison to hand, between Autobiography and Self-portrait; so much so that the essential difference was lost sight of -- the difference in the outlook of the pictorial and the literary artists; one of whom sees all in the surface of things, while the other considers the changing phenomena of the world as a mere mask of imperishable and invisible truth. And just as the one sort of artist presents everything in space, and the other everything in time, so Autobiography and Self-portrait have quite different fields of application. The painter's self-portrait may be of ten repeated; for the chief conditions of painting, light and shade, are always changing; the sculptor's self-portrait seldom, since form is only altered to the touch by the furrowing and wearing of a long lapse of time. But the verbal self-portrait can never be repeated at all; for memoirs cannot be written over again, they can only be continued.

We may then consider, without involving ourselves in side-issues, the subject of the present book: the self-portrait of the painter and sculptor. Nor do we think it either our duty or our right to practise psychology upon works of art. Our business has been to collect from all sides the available material -- anything further that may be done is hardly more than a game, that the reader may pursue as he likes, in looking through this book.

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