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Self Portrait Renaissance to Contemporary 17 Feb - 14 May 2006 Art Gallery of New South Wales

Sofonisba Anguissola, Self-portrait at the Easel Painting a Devotional Panel, 1556   Cristofano Allori (1577-1621) Judith with the Head of Holofernes, 1613   Lucien Freud, Interior with hand mirror (self-portrait)

The first large-scale exploration of self-portrait painting in oils, spanning 500 years of art history and featuring iconic works from major international collections.

SELF PORTRAIT: Renaissance to Contemporary begins with the 16th century paintings of Allesandro Allori and Sofonisba Anguissola and ends with works by Gerhard Richter and Chuck Close. Visitors will enjoy many portraits never before seen in Australia. The appeal of this genre of painting is well known, and this exhibition explores the diversity of the image through which the artist is represented.

This major exhibition brings together 49 painted self-portraits by many of the world's greatest artists from 1550 right up to the present day. Works by artists renowned for their self-portraits, such as Rubens, Velasquez, Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo will be included alongside works by lesser known artists, such as Johannes Gumpp and Giovan Battista Sassoferato, whose self-portraits are of exceptional quality and interest. The international range of artists represented includes Annibale Carracci, Jacob Jordaens, Judith Leyster, William Hogarth, Pierre Bonnard, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Edward Hopper and Sidney Nolan, to name but a few.

SELF PORTRAIT: Renaissance to Contemporary shows the development of this genre over 500 years and the particular importance of the technology of oil paint to its development. The exhibition includes seven early works from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where the "Vasari corridor" is the most important and famous collection of self-portraits in the world. Other important loans come from the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, The Royal Collection, The National Gallery and the Tate Gallery, London.

A new large self-portrait by the American artist Chuck Close is being painted for the exhibition.

This exhibition is jointly organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and the National Portrait Gallery, London. It is curated by Anthony Bond, Head Curator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Dr Joanna Woodall, Deputy Director of the Courtauld Institute.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says, "We are all fascinated by how artists have looked at themselves. The exhibition examines questions of consciousness and identity, by showing how artists chose to paint their own image. A number of collections have been very generous with some very important loans."

Edmund Capon, Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, says "This study of painting over 500 years focuses on artists' self portraits and, in the process, it reveals a great deal about how artists think about representation and creativity."

Rob Priestley, Managing Director and Senior Country Officer for JPMorgan Australia and New Zealand, sponsor of this major exhibition, says, "JPMorgan is proud to partner with the Art Gallery of New South Wales in bringing to Australia this exceptional selection of self portraits."

Related Events

Art After Hours
 - Celebrity Talks 6.30pm
22 Feb Kate Holden, author of In my skin
1 Mar Robert Dessaix, author, critic and broadcaster
The Gallery and Self Portrait stay open until 9pm every Wednesday. 

Films Lives of the artist
Wednesdays 2pm & 7.15pm, Sundays 2pm 22 February - 2 April 2006
A series of biographical feature films exploring the lives of a selection of ground-breaking artists drawn from the history of portraiture.

22 & 26 Feb Caravaggio Dir: Derek Jarman 1986
1 & 5 Mar Girl with a pearl earring Dir: Peter Webber 2003
8 & 12 Mar Frida Dir: Julie Taymor 2002
15 & 19 Mar Montparnasse Dir: Jacques Becker 1958
22 & 26 Mar Vincent Dir: Paul Cox 1987
29 Mar & 2 Apr Edvard Munch Dir: Peter Watkins 1974

19 Feb 1pm Erin Griffey Rembrandt and Self-portraiture
22 Feb 11am Tony Bond Self Portrait, the exhibition: origins and overview
10 Mar 11am George Alexander Mirroring and Self-portraiture

Self Portrait Symposium
Saturday, 18 February 2006 9am - 4.30pm
Full $80.00 Members $70.00 Concession $50.00

Guided Tours
Daily 2pm, Wednesdays 7.30pm 17 February - 14 May 2006

Exhibition co-organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and the National Portrait Gallery, London.

SELF PORTRAIT: Renaissance to Contemporary

On view:17 February - 14 May 2006
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney, Australia.
Telephone:(02) 9225 1744 or toll-free 1800 679 278
Hours:10am - 5pm 7 days a week
(closed Christmas Day and Easter Friday)
Art After Hours until 9pm Wednesday evenings
Admission:$12 adults, $9 concession/members.
(Please note there will be a special joint Archibald and Self Portrait pass: $15 adults, $10 concession)
Media Information and Interviews:Susanne Briggs
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Tel. (02) 9225 1791
or 0412 268 320
Images available upon request

IMAGE CREDIT: Image 1: Sofonisba Anguissola Self-portrait at the Easel Painting a Devotional Panel, 1556 (detail), Muzeum-Zamek, Lancut, Poland. Image 2: Cristofano Allori (1577-1621) Judith with the Head of Holofernes, 1613. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen. © The Royal Collection 2005 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll. Image 3: Lucien Freud Interior with hand mirror (self-portrait) Private collection © the artist