Self-portrait. As I think of myself

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Pegi with cyclamens, 1936 Watercolour And Graphite On Paper 76.2 X 55.9 Cm © Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario
Self-portrait in a velvet cap with plume, 1638 Etching On Laid Paper 13.7 X 10.4 Cm © Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario
Somersaulting man: As I think of myself, 1964 Dark Grey Stone 16.5 X 10.5 X 8.4 Cm © Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario
Self-portrait. As I think of myself

317 Dundas Street
West Toronto, Ontario M5T 1G4
April 13th, 2013 - December 8th, 2013

Chinatown / Kensington Market / The Grange
Toll free: 1-877-225-4246
Thurs to Tues 10am - 5.30pm, Wed 10am - 8.30pm, Closed Monday


The mirror, above all, the mirror is our teacher.

- Leonardo da Vinci

Since the invention of the glass mirror in the 1500s artists have been scrutinizing and recording their own reflections. In self-portraiture the artist is both maker and model, and the distinctions between observer and observed break down. Like an autobiography, which can range from the informative to the fabricated, a self-portrait provides clues that reveal the artist’s identity (or identities). Through pose, facial expression, setting, costume, and stylistic presentation the artist “signs” his or her work.

The term “self-portrait” was coined in the 1800s, when self-expression and individuality became particularly valued. In self-portraiture the artist finds a convenient, inexpensive subject to explore a range of emotional, psychological and spiritual states or to create any number of witty fictional personas.

The AGO has an extensive collection of self portraits that cross all media and date from the 1500s to the present day.

This selection introduces highlights of this collection with works by artists such as Rembrandt, Käthe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, Greg Curnoe and Alex Colville.