Self & Portrait

How do we see ourselves? For centuries, art history has been shaped by a desire to capture human likeness ‒ whether as a keepsake, the recording of a moment or a medium to deal with and express oneself. A (self-)portrait is also characterized by how people are (or were) viewed in the era in which it is produced, making the genre subject to constant change. Throughout the 20th century, artists continually found new ways to render the human image: from figurative abstraction in painting to the extension of the self as sculptures, installations or even completely different personas. What forms does the self take? What are its boundaries or limitations? Artists trace these questions emotionally, playfully or abstractly using the most diverse means ‒ because learning more about oneself is always the promised reward when searching for identity.

40 Artworks
Created by
Städel Museum

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