The creation of self-portraits has its roots in the Renaissance

The creation of self-portraits has its roots in the Renaissance period when the social status of the artist began to shift.  Artists often used a self-portrait to elevate their rank (think of Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez) or emphasize their identity as a painter (any number of self-portraits by women such as Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun).  But today, artists use themselves as subjects in their work for a variety of reasons.  

  • Consider the evolution of the self-portrait by looking at examples by the following artists:
    • Vincent Van Gogh
    • Cindy Sherman
    • Robert Mapplethorpe
    • Renee Cox
    • Shirin Neshat
  • Respond to HOW and WHY the artist has either chosen themselves as the subject or utilized the social meaning of their identity as the subject.  What is the difference?  You must provide at least two of the artists as your example.

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