Self: Image and Identity
23 January – 10 May 2015
Free to all
Artists' self-portraits from the 16th century to the present day.
Van Dyck tour venues
- Turner Contemporary, Margate
24 January - 10 May 2015
Manchester Art Gallery
21 May - 31 August 2015
National Portrait Gallery, London
4 September 2015 - 3 January 2016
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London12 January - 24 April 2016
Birmingham Museum & Art GallerySummer 2016
National Portrait Gallery, London, Autumn/Winter 2016
Laing Art Gallery, NewcastleSpring 2017
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, EdinburghSummer 2017
National Portrait Gallery, LondonAutumn/Winter 2017
At the heart of the display is Van Dyck’s magnificent self-portrait, acquired by the National Portrait Gallery last year after a joint public fundraising appeal with the Art Fund that sought to stop its export to America. Part of the Art Fund grant is being used to support a tour of the painting, which begins here in Margate. One of just three the artist completed in Britain, it is also Van Dyck's final self portrait; he died within a year of its completion. Here it is used to trigger an exploration of the genre's development over 400 years.
More than 100 artists' self-portraits are featured, ranging from Victorian masters JMW Turner and John Constable to 20th century greats Louise Bourgeois and Lucian Freud and contemporary icons Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Gillian Wearing. Key themes addressed in the exhibition include identity, mortality and patronage, as well as the changing nature of the self-portraiture.
Jason Evans’s new commission Sound System Self-Portrait is an example of how the tradition of the self portrait has been reinterpreted for contemporary practice.