Exploring Self

On Saturday 5th December 2015, we welcomed young people from across London to join us for a day to think about Van Gogh, self-portraits, and photography. They started the day by working with Art Historian Fran Herrick to explore Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear, 1889, at The Courtauld Gallery. They then looked at lots of other examples of portraits in the collection before picking some of their favourites to think about more closely.

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In the afternoon, they worked with photographer Elizabeth Bicher to think about ways to make their own self-portraits. Taking inspiration from the collection and contemporary photography, they thought about issues such as identity and representation of yourself. They were also tasked with creating self-portraits that used techniques such as masks, shadows, and disguises – how can you create a self-portrait without necessarily showing your face?

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