The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History

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9780500292112: The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History
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“Hall provides a lively cultural interpretation of the genre from the Middle Ages to today. . . . Rather than provide a series of ‘greatest hits,’ he is more concerned with the reasons why artists create self-portraits.” ―The Weekly Standard

The self-portrait may be the visual genre most identified with our confessional era, but modern artists are far from the first to have explored its power and potential. In this broad cultural survey of the genre, art historian and critic James Hall brilliantly maps the history of self-portraiture, from the earliest myths of Narcissus and the Christian tradition of “bearing witness” to the prolific self-image-making of today’s contemporary artists.

Hall’s intelligent and vivid account shows how artists’ depictions of themselves have been part of a continuing tradition that reaches back centuries. Along the way he reveals the importance of the medieval mirror craze; the explosion of the genre during the Renaissance; the confessional self-portraits of Titian and Michelangelo; the biographical role of serial self-portraits by artists such as Courbet and van Gogh; themes of sex and genius in works by Munch, Bonnard, and Modersohn-Becker; and the latest developments of the genre in the era of globalization.

Comprehensive and beautifully illustrated, the book features the work of a wide range of artists including Alberti, Caravaggio, Dürer, Emin, Gauguin, Giotto, Goya, Kahlo, Koons, Magritte, Mantegna, Picasso, Raphael, Rembrandt, and Warhol. 120 illustrations

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About the Author:

James Hall is an art historian, lecturer, and broadcaster, and is a visiting research fellow at the University of Southampton in England. He is the author of four critically acclaimed books.

Review:

“Think selfies are a new phenomenon? Think again. In Hall’s cultural history of self-portraiture, you’ll find everyone from Michelangelo to Titian to Cindy Sherman.”
- Entertainment Weekly

“[A] splendidly written and valuable study of one of the most psychologically revealing genres in art history.”
- Gallery & Studio

“Knowing why artists like Rembrandt and Courbet [created self-portraits] is at the heart of art historian James Hall’s book. . . . Hall’s writing is not only accessible for a general audience, but filled with notable insights, including spicy, prurient ones.”
- The Daily Beast

“James Hall’s brilliant book . . . traces the evolution and aesthetic development of the form, from Flemish painter Jan van Eyck to Diego Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas.’”
- Al Jazeera America

“The variety of expression on display here is amazing. . . . Hall carefully unpacks the portraits . . . with anecdotes and histories that bring a new understanding to a vital part of artistic endeavor.”
- The Commercial Dispatch

“Hall shows that the creation of self-portraits is a deep-rooted aspect of the creative impulse.”
- Art Eyewitness

“Art historian James Hall examines the genre of self-portraiture from the Middle Ages to the present, contextualizing the tradition in relation to the cultural climate of its time. This clear, well-researched book is an exceptional choice for everyone from the general reader to the expert in art history.”
- Library Journal

“A lovely object in itself. . . . The text is informative and accessible.”
- Portland Book Review

“Features major artists, mostly European, exhibiting themselves in a variety of modes, mostly pictorial, all complemented by effective, descriptive passages in well-wrought prose. . . . Recommended.”
- Choice

“James Hall provides a lively cultural interpretation of the genre from the Middle Ages to today. But rather than provide a series of ‘greatest hits,’ he is more concerned with the reasons why artists create self-portraits.”
- The Weekly Standard

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9780500239100: The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History

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ISBN 10:  050023910X ISBN 13:  9780500239100
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, 2014
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Book Description Thames Hudson Ltd, United Kingdom, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this broad cultural survey, James Hall brilliantly maps the history of self-portraiture, from the earliest myths of Narcissus and the Christian tradition of bearing witness to the prolific self-image-making of todays contemporary artists. Along the way he reveals the importance of the medieval mirror craze; the confessional self-portraits of Titian and Michelangelo; the role of biography for serial self-portraitists such as Courbet and van Gogh; themes of sex and genius in works by Munch and Bonnard; and the latest developments in our globalized age. Hall covers the full range of self-portraits, from comic and caricature self-portraits to invented or imaginary ones, and looks deeply into the worlds and mindsets of the artists who have created them. Offering a rich and lively history, this is an essential read for all those interested in this most enduringly popular and humane of art forms. Seller Inventory # AA29780500292112

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Book Description Thames Hudson Ltd, United Kingdom, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this broad cultural survey, James Hall brilliantly maps the history of self-portraiture, from the earliest myths of Narcissus and the Christian tradition of bearing witness to the prolific self-image-making of todays contemporary artists. Along the way he reveals the importance of the medieval mirror craze; the confessional self-portraits of Titian and Michelangelo; the role of biography for serial self-portraitists such as Courbet and van Gogh; themes of sex and genius in works by Munch and Bonnard; and the latest developments in our globalized age. Hall covers the full range of self-portraits, from comic and caricature self-portraits to invented or imaginary ones, and looks deeply into the worlds and mindsets of the artists who have created them. Offering a rich and lively history, this is an essential read for all those interested in this most enduringly popular and humane of art forms. Seller Inventory # AA29780500292112

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