Self Portrait
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.

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Self Portrait 1981
  • Artist Rooms
As in his portrait of Nick Marden, Mapplethorpe photographs himself from behind, but here the emphasis is on abstract design. The “V”-shape of the wall-mounted frame (actually one of Mapplethorpe’s own sculptures) echoes the diagonals of his heavily coiffed hair and intersects the inverted “V”-shape of the white piping on his leather jacket. The effect is very Art Deco. Surface style takes precedence over character depiction or psychological insight.

Glossary Open

Art Deco

Taking its name from the major exhibition of decorative arts held in Paris in 1925, Art Deco was a design style that epitomised the 1920s and 1930s. It was characterised by geometric or stylised shapes and bright colours.

Art Deco

Details

  • Acc. No. AR00228
  • Medium Photograph, gelatine silver print on paper
  • Size 34.10 x 34.10 cm (framed: 50.80 x 40.60 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008