There were no selfies in the era of the ’80s and ’90s; that’s why self-portraiture remained tried and true to such a beautiful extent. Famous self-portraits by leading artists were handcrafted with transcending styles, exquisite techniques, and expertise skills when there was no modern equipment.
From Rembrandt to Picasso, there have been royalty in self-portraits, and the most intriguing part of the process is their realistic approach. Every famous self-portrait is a classic piece of perfection with imagination beyond words.
Self-portraits have acquired a prominent position since time immemorial. So, here is a list of such striking self-portraits from the best artists history has ever seen and the ones that continue to set the benchmark of artistry in practice.
Breakfast in Bed by Mary Cassat
Mary Cassatt painted Breakfast in Bed in the year 1897 with charismatic dabs and vibrant colors. The painting is somewhat of an abstract in which there are human figures used to anchor against the soft bedding.
Cassat creates a gaze at women who are immersed in the complexities of domestic life. There is a woman and a child in the painting. The painting showcases a woman and child awaking together in bed with an emotionally resonating image.
Cassatt, through his portrait, represents imagination with an early relationship between mother and child who are mutually dependent on each other. They share the literal aspects of emotions and moments joy, tension, and revelatory simplicity in the domestic experience.
The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner
The Annunciation by Tanner is a meticulous exploration of the felt reality by him of the biblical lore that resonated throughout his life. The very painting is an intensified image of the Virgin Mary’s visit through an introspective exploration of that lived environment of Biblical life in Ancient times.
Taner deliberately chooses to handcraft the scene in one of the vintages yet humble peasant homes just like the ones he visited in Palestine himself. The canvas of Tanner allows the dark atmosphere and impoverished setting to be illuminated by the holy presence of light.
The famous portrait depicts that moment when the Angel Gabriel visits Mother Mary. He told her that she would be the mother to the son of God by immaculate conception.
A Dinner Table At Night by John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent’s, A Dinner Table at Night dates back to the period of Impressionism. This eminent painting is a spontaneous reproduction that is primarily fluid and portrayed from the respect of the sitters.
A Dinner Table At Night is a sneak peek into the world of the industrial elite, a world that feels far removed from daily life and focuses on imitating that impact of nobility, which is rare to find. The interior of the painting recalls the mournful and melancholy worlds of Degas and Toulouse Lautrec.
It is a pleasant conversation with the painter and the two figures painted inside the picture. A Dinner Table At Night is one of the famous portraits from a different angle from an artist evolving his style and approach to remarkable effect.
Osteria by Carl Heinrich Bloch
The oil on canvas Roman Osteria by Carl Heinrich Bloch is a stunning painting of all times. He was a Danish artist mainly associated with images and artworks based on Christ’s life and biblical themes. However, he was a master of whatever he did, and he excelled in mythological and historical subjects.
A Roman Osteria depicts a lesser-known part of the artist’s talents but for sure a clear sight of beauty. Bloch’s painting has missed not even a single chance to show all of his best skill, from perspective to the lighting and from the volume to intensity. All the different surfaces such as the hard wall and the many pieces of fabric are painted with precision and detail.
A Soul Bought to Heaven 1878 by William Adolphe Bouguereau
William Adolphe Bouguereau’s painting A Soul Brought to Heaven 1878 concentrates on the profound insights of his compositional skills. The painting is certainly does not depicting anyone from his family, but still, there is an unsaid felt presence of grief that this painting is screaming.
The stormy skies above the angels’ heads indicate a disquiet directed from the heavens and an element of emotion that the painter himself is trying to recreate. The literal aspects of the anger at the death resonate in the speed and care the angels bring back souls to the afterlife, in heaven. Finally, a parting bouquet in the bottom corner of the painting, perhaps offered on earth, adds poignancy to the canvas.
The precise knowledge of the Renaissance master is exhibited through this figurative painting upon a Biblical theme. It is a moving interpretative reproduction inspired by the legendary works by Raphael and a poignant evocation of loss in Bouguereau’s own life.
The Bottom Line
Artworks by such great artists share a story beyond every painting that only a true artist can understand. If you are a person of art and love to collect famous oil-on-canvas paintings, these self-portraits are a must to consider.