Monday, April 27, 2009

Writing and Visual Imagination: Self-Portraits

Search the internet for self-portraits by the following artists: Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent Van Gogh, Susanna Coffey, Lucian Freud, Kathe Kollwitz, Paul Gauguin, Gregory Gillespie, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Susanna Coffey, Brett Gamache (a friend of mine).

Create a Word document.

1. For each artist, record the title, year of completion, and country of origin.

2. Identify three comparable (composition, color, mood, etc.) self-portraits from the list. Construct a paragraph which identifies the parallels between these 3 works.

3. Identify the strongest self-portrait. In a paragraph, explain the elements which make it stand out; use your vocabulary words.

4. Typically, self-portraits are not lucrative efforts for living artists. Why might an artist choose to focus on self-portraits? What may drive an artist, like Rembrandt, to devote so much time and effort towards depicting himself? Explain in paragraph form.

5. Proofread and post your document here.


Kayla F. said...

1. Rembrandt van Rijn->Born and raised in Leiden, Netherlands, creator of his own personal self-portrait called ‘Nightwatch’ completed in 1642.

Vincent Van Gogh->Born in Zundert, Netherlands, creator of his self-portrait many of them unnamed, and his first was completed in March/April of 1887.

Lucian Freud->Born in Berlin, Germany; was mostly a anything but a self-portrait painter, however he did create an untitled self-portrait in 2005.

Kathe Kollwitz->Born in Königsberg, Prussia, but created her self-portrait in Kaliningrad, Russia in 2004.

Paul Gauguin->Born in Paris, France, but created his self-portrait in Atuona, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia in 1891.

Gregory Gillespie->Born in Roselle Park, New Jersey where he completed his self-portrait in 1961.

Pablo Picasso-> Born in Malaga, Spain where he started and completed his untitled self-portrait in 1962.

Paul Cezanne->Born in Aix-en-Provence where he created his abstract, untitled self-portrait in 1875.

Susanna Coffey->Born in New London, Conneticut, where she mostly constructed self-portraits, her first was created in 2006 called “Water Years 1”.

2. Out of all of these respected artists, I found a common comparison among a majority of them including:
Rembrandt van Rijn, Pablo Picasso, and Susanna Coffeys work. Take a look at the images provided above, as a whole they respectfully look alike in some traits, however, if you look even closer and dipict the details, you can see the multiple common comparisons among them. For example, it is clear that all of the paintings are self portraits, however each one of the artists seems to be glorifying themselves within the paintings. Along with the choices of hues, colors, and hints, we can see a common difference that the background is darker to enhance the power of the foreground images; see how Rembandt and Coffey seem to emerge out of the shadows, while Picasso seems to lerk within them, there is a common comparison there of color, along with many other similarities.

3. Out of all three of the portraits, I believe the most powerful self-portraits is evidently Paublo Picasso’s. See how it seems that he lurks within the shadows, and how the color of the background emphisases the foreground, ultimatly glorifiying himself. Look at each specific glorious detail, the cringle of his forehead from his hand pushing up against it, the wrinkles in his shirt, and the aging wrinkles on his hands. Not only in specific detail is Picasso’s work the best out of the bunch, but it is almost more eye daring, challenging you to look at it; more captivating of your attention. All in all it is clear that Picasso’s painting is clearly the best, not only in detail, but also as a whole.

4. Typically, self-portraits are not lucrative efforts for living artists, however many respected artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn devotes all of their time to specifically paint self-portraits. Perhaps it is because Rembrandt and other artists feel themselves as a gift to the world; or perhaps they want to leave a mark on the world. There is no specific answer as to why artists do what they do, it can only be measured if they are good at it or not.

R. Hain said...

R. Hain
Visual Imagination
30 April, 2009

Self Portrait Assignment

1. Rembrandt Van Rijn
a. Self Portrait
b. 1659
c. Holland

2. Vincent Van Gogh
a. Self Portrait in a Grey Felt Hat
b. 1887
c. Netherlands

3. Susanna Coffey
a. Self Portrait (masque, queen helene)
b. 2001
c. New York

4. Lucian Frued
a. Man at Night
b. 1947
c. Germany

5. Kathe Kollwitz
a. Self Portrait
b. 1934
c. ???

6. Paul Gauguin
a. Self Portrait with Yellow Christ
b. 1889
c. ???

7. Gregory Gillespie
a. Myself Painting a Self-Portrait
b. 1980
c. ???

8. Pablo Picasso
a. Self Portrait
b. 1907
c. Spain
9. Paul Cezanne
a. Self Portrait
b. 1879
c. Russia

10. Brett Gamache
a. _____________________
b. _____________________
c. _____________________

The self portraits of Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, and Rembrandt Van Rijn all have the same type of art. The style is very similar. If you look at the paintings you can see the strokes of the brushes and how the paintings almost look real but still appear to seem very unrealistic at the same time. The three artists responsible for these happen to be some of the most talented artists ever and deserve all of the fame because their paintings are nothing short of amazing.

I think that the Lucian Freud self portrait was the most powerful because the painting actually looks like the painting is aging, and also looks like the painting was just painted. Also the painting has such a strong meaning towards it. You can really notice and see the emotion in the painting.

Maybe he wanted to see what inspiration he could get from trying to focus on himself and try to focus on his emotions. The artist would consider doing a self portrait because when he or she was finished they could try and critique it themselves to see what they have created and what that could mean to them or their lives.

Alec D. said...

Search the internet for self-portraits by the following artists: Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent Van Gogh, Susanna Coffey, Lucian Freud, Kathe Kollwitz, Paul Gauguin, Gregory Gillespie, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Susanna Coffey, Brett Gamache (a friend of mine).

Create a Word document.

1. For each artist, record the title, year of completion, and country of origin.
Rembrandt can Rijn – “Self Portrait”, 1658, Netherlands.
Vincent Van Gogh – “Self Portrait”, 1887, Netherlands/France.
Susanna Coffey – “Self Portrait, flag”, 2003, United States of America.
Lucian Freud - “Reflection (Self Portrait)”, 1985, England.
Kathe Kollwitz – “Self Portrait”, 1927, Germany.
Paul Gauguin – “Self – Portrait with Yellow Christ”, 1889, France.
Gregory Gillespie – “Self Portrait with Sly Look”, 1984, United States of America.
Pablo Picasso – “Self – Portrait”, 1907, Spain.
Paul Cezanne – “Self – Portrait with Rose Background”, 1875, France.
Brett Gamache – “Self – Portrait with red shirt and hat, 2003, United States of America.

2. There are three self portraits from the ones that are listed above that are comparable. The three painters are Lucian Freud, Susanna Coffey, and Brett Gamache. All three of the paintings have darker backgrounds of either gray or dark tan. Also, each of the self portraits have more color in the foreground and in the clothing and skin of the pictures of the artists, that make them “pop” off the plain background. Both Gamache and Coffey have vibrant reds in their pictures that make them stand out against the plain background. The self portraits are also painted in a way that the viewer sees the muscle tone and precise features of each of the painters in the pieces. The mood of all three of the paintings seem very serious. Although Gamache’s self portrait seems to lesser serious of the three, all three seem to show that the person in each painting has focus, and is eying something (even Gamache’s under the brim of his hat).

3. The strongest self portrait in my opinion is “Self Portrait, Flag”, by Susanna Coffey. I believe this one is the strongest for many reasons. The way the background is very dark and plain compared to the vibrant reds and oranges associated with Coffey’s image of herself makes the image pop off the paper. Also the way Coffey painted her portrait, made all of the features of the face come to life, like the muscle tone and the shading of the nose and color of the eyebrows really make the eyes and nose become distinct features in the painting. Also the many darker hues in the background make even the plainest looking wall seem to stand out more and help to make the portrait stand out more too. Coffey’s eyes are also unsettling, but perfect for this painting because they look so serious, like they are peering into your soul. Overall, all of these things together make a very strong portrait that is memorable and stands out to be one of the strongest portraits in my eyes.

4. Even though self portraits have proven not to be lucrative, many artists still choose to do them. There are a couple of reasons artists might choose to do them. First of all, many artists want to show people how they view themselves and it might be different from how everyone views them. Also, artists might want to show people who they artist behind the art is. Most people know people by their art, but not by their face. By doing a self portrait, people can see the artist’s art, while seeing the actual artist themselves. Also, some artists just what to paint what they enjoy and it doesn’t matter about the money, and if they want to paint themselves, that is what they will do. Finally, many artists consider themselves not to be perfect, and one way they can do that is make them perfect in their paintings, and to them that makes them happy.