William Packer

The Egoist’s Muse

Face to Face: British Self-Portraits in the Twentieth Century


Sansom & Company 309pp £45 hbk £29.95 pbk order from our bookshop

THE SELF-PORTRAIT IS one of the most fascinating of the secondary disciplines of Western painting. It is certainly one of the most revelatory. Who am I? What am I? And, peering into that other world beyond the looking-glass, Where am I? The questions come thick and fast. Most painters do a self-Portrait at one time or another, if only as a student exercise, or as a convenience – for there is no model more biddable than oneself. Yet, whatever the painting’s provenance, it inevitably grows into something more, because those questions are inescapable. For some of the greatest artists – Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Max Beckmann, Lucian Freud – the self-portrait became a lifelong habit and study in itself.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,