Self: Image and Identity

Turner Contemporary

23 January – 10 May 2015

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, London

    12 January - 24 April 2016
  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

    Summer 2016
  • National Portrait Gallery, London, Autumn/Winter 2016

  • Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle

    Spring 2017
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

    Summer 2017
  • National Portrait Gallery, London

    Autumn/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.

Don't miss

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.

Venue information

Turner Contemporary

Free to all

Rendezvous, CT9 1HG

Tel: + 44 (0) 1843 233000


Opening times

Tue - Sun, including Public Holidays

10am - 6pm during the summer
10am - 5pm winter to spring

Closed Mondays except public holidays
Closed 25 – 26 Dec

Cafe opening times:
Tuesday - Sunday, 10am - 4.30pm
Friday & Saturday evenings, 6.30 – 10pm

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