Another fascinating instalment from Bill Jones’ 100 Days of Art. My man rocks!
Surprising though it may be, self-portraits weren’t invented with the creation of the first iPhone. Neither did they become popular when the first hairy-knuckled Reality Star staggered out of the jungle to pose for a little self-adoration. Rather, they’ve been around as long as there have been artists. Prior to the Renaissance, selfies were a rarity in art; however, with the advent of inexpensive mirrors and interest in the individual, artists quickly turned to their most readily available model–the self. One could make the case it was that a burgeoning European upper-class society allowed for the insertion of open vanity, but self love has never been the artist’s primary motive.
Perhaps the first well-known selfie is Jan van Eyck, painted in 1433. We believe it’s van Eyck, among other reasons, because he’s not wearing a turban but a chaperone, a hood with the ends tied up on his head…
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