Monday, August 18, 2008

Portrait of the Self

Marie Bashkertsiff

Self-Portrait with Palette, 1880
Chéret Museum
of Fine Arts, Nice, France?

b.1858 d.1884
image courtesy of wikimediacommons

This week I am going to focus on self-portraits. I intend to show you a range of artist self-portraiture, hoping to share the range of intent and style of an array of artists.

We open up the week with a work by a young woman from the late 19th century. She unfortunately lived a very short life but was able to leave us with not only excellent paintings, but also writings. Marie Bashkertsiff is new to me, a discovery in book that came across my desk (which I can't recall right now but will post when I find it).

You can't help but be pulled in by her steady and studious gaze. She holds a palette providing a context for herself as an artist, as well as the broader context of the arts with the harp in the background. She does not reveal herself at work, but confronts us with a mode of confidence and stature as a woman and artist.

Bashkertsiff spent part of her educatoin at the Academie Julian in Paris which allowed women to enroll. She became a well known intellectual feminist in Paris before her death of tuberculosis at the age of 25.

She also captured her own bourgeois life in writing, Marie Bashkirtseff: the journal of a young artist, 1860-1884 or as I am the most interesting book of all which was published more recently (I am not sure of the distinct differences).

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