Monday, November 27, 2023

narcissus and self portraiture ... do people paint or photograph their own reflections out of self-love ? or are they motivated by vanity ? most likely, i'm guessing, they are motivated by anxiety ... whatever the connections, it seems more than just an idle speculation to begin a little scrapbook of artists who engage with the narcissus myth, not always consciously ... some will flatter themselves ... there have been some artists who seemed to confront themselves ...

nicolas poussin

salvador dali metamorphosos of narcissus, 1937


Aegidius Sadeler II engraved this image of Narcissus waving at his own reflection in exaggerated amazement after a design by Bart. Spranger, but I am unable to find the original Spranger work.

Sadeler knew Spranger and portrayed him in a rather fantastic ( I've always loved it ) allegory showing Spranger in mourning with an image of his recently deceased wife.

I don't think Sadeler ever made a self-portrait but Spranger's own delicate self-portrait is full of life ... and sorrow, perhaps.

I have a question ... Does any telling of the Narcissus myth record a direct conversation between him and those persons who watch nearby ?

If the event took place at all, might he have been involved in some deeper mystery ... for instance making some conjectures about the mysteries of transparency and refraction and reflection ?

I'm just asking for a friend.


to my surprise, neither George Tooker, nor Paul Cadmus seem to have engaged with the myth of Narcissus

Some people speculate that David Hockney's 1972 painting, Portrait of an Artist ( Pool with Two Figures ) might be a variation on the theme ... but it seems more co-incidental than purposeful

here is an article about JESS, a gay artist who tackled the theme in his most well-known paste-up, NARKISSOS

charles le brun, the king's painter in paris, provided the sketches for the engravers

he looks very pleased with himself ( rightfully ) in this self-portrait ...

... to be continued ...