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Painting a self-portrait is a self-conscious undertaking in which the artist always has the knowledge of a viewing in mind. Is it a true reflection of my real self? Will a finished product be met with approval, or will it elicit surprise and consternation? There is a lingering sense of self-scrutiny and vulnerability as the artist lays out his/her thoughts and feelings on the surface. Following the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, the depictions of self-image moved away from making things look lifelike towards exploring and interrogating the psyche in various forms and media. Today, in the age of social media and selfies, the self-portrait has never been more relevant.

52 artworks
Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1886

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)

Oil on canvas

H 34.5 x W 29.7 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1637

George Jamesone (1589/1590–1644)

Oil on canvas

H 71 x W 54.9 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1882

Joseph Farquharson (1846–1935)

Oil on canvas

H 34.5 x W 29.7 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
© the artist. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1992

Brian McLaughlin (b.1966)

Oil on board

H 32.8 x W 23.6 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1883

Jules Breton (1827–1906)

Oil on canvas

H 30.5 x W 25.8 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait

John Phillip (1817–1867)

Oil on canvas

H 70.8 x W 51.4 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1882

Edward John Poynter (1836–1919)

Oil on canvas

H 34.5 x W 29.7 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1882

George Reid (1841–1913)

Oil on canvas

H 34.5 x W 29.7 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
© Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1952

James McBey (1883–1959)

Oil on canvas

H 72.4 x W 54.8 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait

George Washington Wilson (1823–1893)

Oil on panel

H 42.9 x W 32.9 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1883

John Everett Millais (1829–1896)

Oil on canvas

H 34.5 x W 29.7 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait

James Giles (1801–1870)

Oil on board

H 47.1 x W 37.1 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
© Estate of Duncan Grant. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait 1967

Duncan Grant (1885–1978)

Oil on canvas

H 47.3 x W 36 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Cigarette Tits [Idealized Smokers Chest II] 1999

Sarah Lucas (b.1963)

Chair, balls, cigarettes & bra

H 80 x W 48 x D 52 cm

Tate

Self Portrait
© estate of Vanessa Bell. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Yale Center for British Art

Self Portrait c.1915

Vanessa Bell (1879–1961)

Oil on canvas laid on panel

H 63.8 x W 45.9 cm

Yale Center for British Art

Self Portrait Looking Up
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Ferens Art Gallery

Self Portrait Looking Up 1982

Leon Kossoff (1926–2019)

Oil on canvas

H 61 x W 46.4 cm

Ferens Art Gallery

J. Y. M. Seated
© the artist. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

J. Y. M. Seated 1976

Frank Helmuth Auerbach (b.1931)

Oil on board

H 50.8 x W 45.8 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
© The Lowry Collection, Salford . Photo credit: The Lowry Collection, Salford

Self Portrait 1925

Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)

Oil on board

H 57.2 x W 47.2 cm

The Lowry Collection, Salford

Derelict Building
© The Estate of L.S. Lowry. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Derelict Building 1941

Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)

Oil on canvas

H 43.3 x W 53.2 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Restraining Coat II (Female)
© the artist. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Restraining Coat II (Female) 1995

Julie Roberts (b.1963)

Oil & acrylic on canvas

H 152.4 x W 152.4 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Man's Head (Self Portrait III) 1963
© Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

Man's Head (Self Portrait III) 1963 1963

Lucian Freud (1922–2011)

Oil on canvas

H 30.5 x W 25.1 cm

National Portrait Gallery, London

Self-Portrait
Photo credit: Tate

Self-Portrait 1902

Gwen John (1876–1939)

Oil on canvas

H 44.8 x W 34.9 cm

Tate

Ivy Leaves in a White Jug
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Ivy Leaves in a White Jug c.1920–1925

Gwen John (1876–1939)

Gouache on paper

H 16.3 x W 12.6 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

We Two Boys Together Clinging
© David Hockney. Photo credit: John Webb

We Two Boys Together Clinging 1961

David Hockney (b.1937)

Oil on board

H 121.9 x W 152.4 cm

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

Pope I (Study after Pope Innocent X by Diego Velázquez)
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Pope I (Study after Pope Innocent X by Diego Velázquez) 1951

Francis Bacon (1909–1992)

Oil on canvas

H 197.8 x W 137.4 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Study of a Head, 1952
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS 2021. Photo credit: Yale Center for British Art

Study of a Head, 1952 1952

Francis Bacon (1909–1992)

Oil on canvas

H 49.5 x W 39.4 cm

Yale Center for British Art

Francis Bacon (1909–1992), Study No. 6 (Head and Teeth) 1978

Clive Barker (b.1940)

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait
Photo credit: Bridgeman Images

Self Portrait c.1896

Walter Richard Sickert (1860–1942)

Oil on canvas

H 45.7 x W 35.6 cm

Leeds Museums and Galleries

Self Portrait
© the estate of David Bomberg. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Self Portrait 1937

David Bomberg (1890–1957)

Oil on board

H 61 x W 50.8 cm

Pallant House Gallery

Portrait Head
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Portrait Head 1965

Angus Menmuir Neil (1924–1992)

Oil on board

H 51.2 x W 41 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Joan Eardley (1921–1963), Artist
© the Eardley estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland

Joan Eardley (1921–1963), Artist 1943

Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley (1921–1963)

Oil on plywood

H 53.4 x W 45.7 cm

National Galleries of Scotland

Setting Sun over Fields
© the Eardley estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Setting Sun over Fields c.1955–1963

Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley (1921–1963)

Oil on canvas

H 46.5 x W 51.5 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Barbara Hepworth's Hand
© Bowness. Photo credit: The Hepworth Wakefield

Barbara Hepworth's Hand 1967

Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975)

Bronze

H 6 x W 20 x D 11 cm

The Hepworth Wakefield

Torso 1932

Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975)

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Robert Colquhoun (1914–1962), Artist, Self Portrait
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland

Robert Colquhoun (1914–1962), Artist, Self Portrait c.1940

Robert Colquhoun (1914–1962)

Oil on canvas

H 41 x W 33 cm

National Galleries of Scotland

Woman in Green
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Woman in Green 1949

Robert Colquhoun (1914–1962)

Oil on canvas

H 101.3 x W 51.4 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Mr Wyndham Lewis as 'Tyro' c.1920–1921

Wyndham Lewis (1882–1957)

Oil on canvas

H 75.9 x W 45.4 cm

Ferens Art Gallery

One of the Stations of the Dead 1933–1937

Wyndham Lewis (1882–1957)

Oil on canvas

H 127.6 x W 75.8 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Me VIII 2012

Lucy Skaer (b.1975)

Resin & celluloid

H 23.5 x W 15.5 x D 4 cm

Government Art Collection

Le peintre des fleurs
Photo credit: National Trust for Scotland, Kellie Castle & Garden

Le peintre des fleurs

John Henry Lorimer (1856–1936)

Oil on canvas

H 94.5 x W 56.5 cm

National Trust for Scotland, Kellie Castle & Garden

Self Portrait
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art

Self Portrait 1938

William Gear (1915–1997)

Brush & ink on paper

H 42.5 x W 26.7 cm

The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art

Winter Pastoral
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Winter Pastoral 1964

William Gear (1915–1997)

Oil on canvas

H 122.5 x W 81.5 cm

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Self Portrait with Artist's First Wife, Nancy
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: The Fleming Collection

Self Portrait with Artist's First Wife, Nancy

James Cowie (1886–1956)

Oil on canvas

H 81.5 x W 81.5 cm

The Fleming Collection

Self Portrait
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Ruth Borchard Collection

Self Portrait 1964

Alberto Morrocco (1917–1998)

Oil on canvas

H 56 x W 51 cm

The Ruth Borchard Collection

Self Portrait Standing, Three Times, 17.3.1991
© Gerhard Richter. Photo credit: Tate

Self Portrait Standing, Three Times, 17.3.1991 1991

Gerhard Richter (b.1932)

Painted photographs on paper

H 151.2 x W 112.8 cm

Tate

Self-Portrait, Three Times, 24.1.90 (Selbstbildnis, dreimal, 24.1.90)
© Gerhard Richter. Photo credit: Tate

Self-Portrait, Three Times, 24.1.90 (Selbstbildnis, dreimal, 24.1.90) 1990

Gerhard Richter (b.1932)

Oil on photograph

H 50 x W 60 cm

Tate

Self-Portrait with Skull
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2021. Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland

Self-Portrait with Skull 1978

Andy Warhol (1928–1987)

Acrylic & silkscreen ink on canvas

National Galleries of Scotland

Felt Suit
© DACS 2021. Photo credit: Tate

Felt Suit 1970

Joseph Beuys (1921–1986)

Felt

H 170 x W 60 cm

Tate

The Simple Truth
© Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

The Simple Truth 1995

Tracey Emin (b.1963)

Wool, cotton & felt

H 216 x W 235 x D 2 cm

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

Amoeba
© The Easton Foundation / VAGA at ARS, NY and DACS, London 2021. Photo credit: Tate

Amoeba 1963–1965 & cast 1984

Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010)

Bronze

H 91.6 x W 69.4 x D 30 cm

Tate

Marc Quinn (b.1964)
© the artist. Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

Marc Quinn (b.1964) 2006

Marc Quinn (b.1964)

Blood, liquid silicone, stainless steel, glass, perspex & refrigeration equipment

H 205 x W 65 x D 65 cm

National Portrait Gallery, London

Unfamiliar Reflection: Self Portrait by Ken Currie (b.1960)
© the artist/courtesy Flowers Gallery, London and New York. Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland

Unfamiliar Reflection: Self Portrait by Ken Currie (b.1960) 2006

Ken Currie (b.1960)

Oil on canvas

H 198.5 x W 137.5 cm

National Galleries of Scotland