Anna McNay

Review of Reflections on the Self: From Dürer to Struth at Christie’s Mayfair


Reflections on the Self: From Dürer
to Struth

Christie’s Mayfair, London

2 June – 5 September 2015

Artists since time immemorial have
painted self-portraits: at times because models’ fees were beyond their meagre
means; at times because they found themselves in isolation; at times simply
because no one knows anyone as well as he knows himself and such intimate
knowledge permits exploration and honesty, the freedom to experiment, and
fulfils the desire to express.

For its sixth exhibition,
Christie’s Mayfair, the auction house’s dedicated exhibition space, brings
together more than 50 artists and 70 works showing the diversity of media,
formats and styles used by artists to reflect their selves, from Albrecht Dürer
(1471-1528) to Thomas Struth (b1954). A rare 15th-century woodcut by the former,
The Bathhouse (c1496-97), depicts the artist leaning on a wooden support, a tap
comically positioned where his genitals should be, wistfully watching the other
men as they bathe. A photograph by Struth, Alte Pinakothek, Self-Portrait
Munich (2000), from his Museum Portraits series, looks over the artist’s
shoulder at the well-known later self-portrait by Dürer (1500). The exhibition
as a whole is framed by this one work.

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