What would art be without self-portraits? In a way, one can look at it as an examination of one’s  self concept. What we see when we look into the mirror is not what our peers see when they look at us. What do we exaggerate, or correct? How many minor “flaws” do we omit? It is always a joy to explore, understand and admire an artist’s self-portrait and history has surely not denied us that opportunity. Some of the greatest artist that ever lived have, at some point, gone through this method of introspection. Here are a few that stand out for us.

Norman Rockwell (1960)

Norman Rockwell

Renowned for this postcards and family portraits, Rockwell was the everyday-man painter, depicting family dinners and celebrity portraits. No surprise that his self-portrait too takes on an “in-progress” composition.

Claude Monet (1886)

Claude Monet

With artwork so iconic they are simply referred to as Monets, Claude Monet is renowned for his massive painterly landscapes and water bodies. Here he unveils an expression of self with his classic “beret and beard” look.

Pablo Picasso (1907)

Pablo Picasso

No need to explain this artist’s work. Even though his style evolved over his career, his touch is so distinct you can never miss it. This piece marks a transition in his technique into this early cubist work.

Frida Kahlo (1940)

Frida Kahlo

Frida created quite a number of self portraits. This mid-century piece stands out as one of her most famous ones of them all – complete with her iconic mono-brow.

Rembrandt van Rijn (1659)


No stranger to self-portraiture. In fact he can be found in many of his own group composition paintings. A cheeky tendency that potentially influenced the likes of Alfred Hitchcock in his films. Many of Rembrandt’s self-portraits are well known, but this is arguably the one.

Vincent van Gogh (1889)

Vincent van Gogh

Another master that is no stranger to self-portraits, Mr. Van Gogh. This classic bandaged ear piece stands out for us.

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982)

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Definitely our favourite and possible the most “original”. Basquiat combined street art who knows what, but we certainly got a few contemporary art gems from this work.

Leonardo da Vinci (1510)

Leonardo da Vinci

Who is more revered than da Vinci? This rare red-chalk image is largely believed to be a self-portrait, and is one of the few depictions of the Renaissance master.