“Self-portraits and mirrors go hand in hand. The artist fashioned his or her likeness by looking into a mirror and recording the probing gaze that stared back. This gives the impression that they are observing us as viewers and not themselves. Now, so many centuries later, we still feel as if we are coming face to face with the artist.
Today, the comparison between a seventeenth-century self-portrait and the modern-day selfie seems inevitable. And yet there is a fundamental difference: a selfie is a quick and spontaneous record, while a self-portrait took considerable time and effort. This exhibition highlights the choises that Dutch artists of the Golden Age made about facial expression, clothing, hairstyle, gestures, attributes and background.
Artists took particular trouble over self-portraits; they are often well-executed portraits that tell us how the painter wanted to present him or herself to the world.”
(Dutch Self-Portraits. Selfies of the Golden Age Exhibition, Mauritshuis Museum, Den Haag, Netherlands)
Further reading: Selfie tips on how to make an Old Master Selfie