Manchester Art Gallery to Exhibit Van Dyck’s Final Self-Portrait

image of Artists in the frame - self-portraits by van dyck and others

Renowned work to form part of Artists in the Frame exhibition

Manchester Art Gallery will present the exhibition Artists in the Frame: Self-portraits by Van Dyck and Others from 21 May – 31 August.  The show, curated by Rebecca Milner, explores why and how artists choose to represent themselves and brings together 20 works by historic and contemporary artists, which span over 300 years of portraiture and feature paintings, photographs and digital works.  The exhibition will include self-portraits from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection as well as works on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

The highlight of the exhibition is set to be Sir Anthony van Dyck’s renowned Self-portrait, which was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2014 following through a major public appeal, which attracted the support of nearly 10,000 members of the public, and assistance from individual and trust supporters, the Art Fund, and a grant of £6.3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Visitors can see Self-portrait, which dates back to approeximately 1640 at Manchester Art Gallery as part of a three-year national tour, entitled Van Dyck: A Masterpiece for Everyone.

Alongside Van Dyck’s iconic image, Artists in the Frame features 19th and 20th century self-portraits by artists including Wyndham Lewis and Adolphe Valette from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection.  Wyndham Lewis’ portrayal of himself as the great Renaissance painter Raphael is one of a series Lewis produced, each dramatising a different aspect of his personality.  Adolphe Valette’s self-portrait with its flat, asymmetrical composition and oriental blue-and-white ginger jar expresses the enduring influence of Japanese art on the artist.

The show will also include three works borrowed directly from artists – Pleating Time a work by Sophie Ploeg, winner of the BP Portrait Travel award in 2013, is part of ‘The Lace Trail’ project and is inspired by 17th century portraits, resonating with the Van Dyck portrait as well as Manchester Art Gallery’s 17th century Dutch collections; A Map of Days by Grayson Perry offers a different kind of self-portrait that doesn’t include a likeness of himself, exploring his identity, character and personality via words and imagery of a walled town; and graphic artist Karrie Fransman’s Selves Portrait, which pays homage to Van Dyck’s work, telling the story of the creation of a self portrait, in a work which was commissioned especially for the exhibition as her many selves jostle around the frame and represent the struggle of deciding which self to represent.

Artists In The Frame: Self-portraits by Van Dyck and Others is exhibited at Manchester Art Gallery from 21 May – 31 August 2015.


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Image credits: (1) Portrait of the Artist as the Painter Raphael 1921, Wyndham Lewis 1882-1957 © Manchester City Galleries (2) Self-portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck, c.1640 ©National Portrait Gallery, London (3) Julian Opie (‘Julian with T-shirt’), LCD screen with integrated software, 2005, National Portrait Gallery © Julian Opie

Editorial Team

Author: Editorial Team

Live Manchester editorial team