For centuries, women’s self-portraiture was a highly overlooked genre. Beginning with the self-portraits of nuns in medieval illuminated manuscripts, Seeing Ourselves finally gives this richly diverse range of artists and portraits, spanning centuries, the critical analysis they deserve. In sixteenth-century Italy, Sofonisba Anguissola paints one of the longest series of self-portraits, from adolescence to old age. In seventeenth-century Holland, Judith Leyster shows herself at the easel as a relaxed, self-assured professional. In the eighteenth century, from Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun to Angelica Kauffman, artists express both passion for their craft and the idea of femininity; and the nineteenth century sees the art schools open their doors to women and a new and resonant self-confidence for a host of talented female artists, such as Berthe Morisot. The modern period demolishes taboos: Alice Neel painting herself nude at eighty years old, Frida Kahlo rendering physical pain on the canvas, Cindy Sherman exploring identity, and Marlene Dumas dispensing with all boundaries.
Frances Borzello’s spirited text, now fully revised, and the intensity of the accompanying self-portraits are set off to full advantage in this new edition, now in reading-book format.
Frances Borzello has specialized in the social history of art since obtaining her doctorate at the University of London. She has published many books including The Naked Nude, A World of Our Own: Women as Artists, and At Home: The Domestic Interior in Art. She lives in England.