Seeing Ourselves Women's Self-Portraits

Frances Borzello

The first chronicle of female self-portraiture through the centuries, now available in paperback.

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 Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun to Angelica Kauffman, artists express both passion for their craft and the idea of femininity. The nineteenth century sees the art schools open their doors to women, as well as 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 and the intensity of the accompanying self-portraits are revealed to the fullest in this inspiring book.


Frances Borzello


Frances Borzello is an art historian and the author of several books, including The Naked Nude, Seeing Ourselves: Women's Self-Portraits, and At Home: The Domestic Interior in Art. She lives in England.