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Self-Portrait about 1614
The Latin inscription at the bottom of this drawing states that it was drawn on 15 December 1614. Although the handwriting does not belong to Palma there is no reason to doubt its accuracy, as the style and appearance are consistent with his other self-portraits. This introspective portrait displays Palma’s ability to capture his own psychological state; his intense gaze and relaxed expression accurately convey the expression of a man absorbed in self-study. In many ways this pre-empts the introspective self-portraits by artist of later centuries such as Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh. Here, Palma experimented with coloured chalks, a medium which he used only occasionally. Similarly, Van Gogh would frequently use his own image when experimenting with an unfamiliar technique or effect.

Glossary Open


Text written on a book, document or artwork. Examples include the added information such as edition number and date on a print, or a dedication written in a book.

Medium/ media

The material from which an artwork is made, e.g. oil paint, bronze, paper. 'Medium' is also used for the liquid element of paint in which a colouring agent is carried. 'Mixed media' is used when an artist combines several different materials in an artwork.

Inscription, Medium/ media


  • Acc. No. D 2237
  • Medium Black and red chalk on faded blue paper
  • Size 23.90 x 20.10 cm
  • Credit William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881