Artwork of the Month - May 2008
Artist: Arthur Royce Bradbury (1892-1977)
Status: Permanent collection
Item No.: GMAG 1995.51
Artists have used the self-portrait for centuries, the earliest clearly identifiable self-portrait, which is not part of a larger composition, being by Jean Fouquet, dating from around 1450.
The function and purpose of self-portraits differ; they may be used as 1) a visual biographical record, 2) an exploration of their inner self, 3) a conscious projection of 'self' to others, or 4) merely as a portrait painting exercise. They could also be, and often are, a combination of all four.
In Arthur Bradbury's self portrait he clearly wishes to be identified as a painter, with his smock and beret. The sky behind him is dark and dramatic, reinforcing Bradbury's self-image as a creative and stormy artist, which is how Bradbury wished to be seen by others through this painting.