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‘Self-analysis? I could’ve been painting an apple.’ The self-portraits of Pierre Halé

via ‘Self-analysis? I could’ve been painting an apple.’ The self-portraits of Pierre Halé

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‘Self-analysis? I could’ve been painting an apple.’ The self-portraits of Pierre Halé

James Mulraine

Lately I’ve been having an interesting conversation at work about self-portraits with my colleague Pierre Halé.

Pierre has been painting all his life, but only started self-portraits in the last few months. I was amazed when I saw the first of these little canvas panels, each about 12 x 10 inches.

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‘Self-portrait as a fisherman’ looks like someone in the background of a Caravaggio. It is superbly observed. The artist works the oil paint lusciously, sculpting his head as a three-dimensional object. The sense that we’re seeing the momentary play of light over a solid form gives the impression that this is a snapshot of time. It creates a real sense of presence, the spark of life in the viewer’s synapses where you can imagine the expression changing.

Self-portraits are often described (frequently by me) as being a self-advertisement, or a form of artistic self-therapy. Rembrandt – 120 self-portraits and counting…

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