Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Beret in the Arts - Self Portraits

It is one of the great clichés: a painter has to wear a beret, preferably black and oversized.
There is a good reason for this cliché though, as so many painters have portrayed themselves with a beret over the centuries. Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-69) was particularly fascinated by himself in a beret, leaving a great legacy of beret-paintings and many of Rembrandt's students and followers copied this tradition.One of my favourite paintings is a self portrait by Claude Monet,

at a later age, white bearded and wearing glasses.

Post-impressionist French painter Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
painted numerous self portraits with beret as well:

Then there are lesser known painters who shared the love for the beret, like Bernard Safran with his fantastic "self portrait in red" (1953):

Or Henry Sugimoto:

Henri Rousseau:

Quentin Crisp:

and all those other great artists, who have found temporary immortality on this beret:

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