Self Portrait: Scratched out, it's all in the wrist
© The Estate of Steven Campbell

Reference URL

Self Portrait: Scratched out, it's all in the wrist about 2006
  • Scottish Art
This theatrical and complex self-portrait is one of the last paintings Campbell completed before his untimely death in 2007. It is filled with a rich narrative, incorporating figures and symbols, mixed together in a dream-like composition. The artist presents himself as a Christ figure, displaying his palms which show stigmata. To the left a cross is marked out with police tape, which, as testament to Campbell’s dark humour, reads “Police. Death In Progress’. He takes this further with a skull visible at the base of the cross, a reference to Golgotha, the place where Christ was crucified. Crammed with death and religious symbolism, it is hard not to consider this work as a portrait of a man in some way aware that death was on his doorstep.

Glossary Open

Composition

The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Narrative art

An artwork that tells a story.

Symbolism

The representation of subjects or ideas by use of a device or motif to create underlying meaning. A literary and artistic movement that originated in France and spread through much of Europe in the late 19th century. There was no consistent style but rather an appeal to the idea of the artist as mystic or visionary and the desire to express a world beyond superficial appearances.

Composition, Narrative art, Symbolism

Details

  • Acc. No. PG 3691
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 183.50 x 133.50 cm
  • Credit Purchased in 2011 from Carol Campbell for £20,000, with funding from NGS Patrons