Self-Portrait

Media - 1917.2.3 - SAAM-1917.2.3_1 - 63723
Copied Benjamin West, Self-Portrait, 1819, oil on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Capitol, 1917.2.3
Free to use

Artwork Details

Title
Self-Portrait
Date
1819
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
32 3825 58 in. (82.265.0 cm.)
Credit Line
Transfer from the U.S. Capitol
Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on paperboard
Classifications
Keywords
  • Portrait male — West, Benjamin — waist length
  • Portrait male — West, Benjamin — self-portrait
  • Dress — accessory — hat
  • Object — art tool
  • Occupation — art — painter
Object Number
1917.2.3

Artwork Description

Six months before he died, West looked unflinchingly into the mirror to paint his self-portrait. He holds a drawing pencil and wears a painter's robe and beaver hat, which identify him as a founder and president of the Royal Academy of Art. The light is strongest on his face and hands, but the rest of the picture falls into shadow, as if he foresaw his own end. West was official painter to the King of England and the first American artist to gain an international reputation. His example led generations of American artists to measure their art and professional identities by European standards.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006