Art History: Self Portraits and Contemporary Art

Ref: C2419180

This course will cover several aspects of Self-Portraiture. We explore historical reasons and methods for producing images of the Self. and ask is it because their own image is always available to them or is it for a more thorough psychological and physical examination through a variety of media. Through developments in Photography, the artist is not just able to capture a momentary likeness but also to invent a variety of 'Identities.'

Course aim

Explore Self-portraiture through an historical overview of Artists' images, media and methods. From Rembrandt to Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo to Cindy Sherman.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recognise certain artists from their self-portraits- Goya, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gustave Courbet (painters). Picasso. Also Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman (through Photography) Giacometti, Anthony Gormley (sculpture) amongst others
  • Understanding of the reasons that artists have created Self-portraits, i.e.. for advertisement purposes to gain commissions - historically and through to contemporary artists who have created a commentary on identity.
  • Understand some of the methods and materials which artists have used to create their Self-portraits including developments in technology such as mirrors, printing, photography, and digital media
  • Understand how the artists 'Identity' might be shaped and controlled through different media.I will also be able to undertake personal research for further investigation into the subject.
  • Understand how Contemporary Technology has re-defined the Self-Portrait through the 'camera-phone.'

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

Download full Course information sheet

Art History: Self Portraits and Contemporary Art

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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