About this artwork

In this work Mapplethorpe has disguised himself as a goat-like figure or a horned satyr. Like much of Mapplethorpe’s photographs the image could be interpreted in two ways. On one hand he suggests the horns of a satyr, associated with Greek Arcadia, and on the other he resembles the demonic horned figure of Satan. By depicting himself as both a faun and a demon Mapplethorpe emphasises two opposing good and evil sides of himself. Both masculine and feminine traits could also be applied to the image; the horns’ penetrative power suggesting a masculine force, but their opening into the shape of a lyre or receptacle implying a more passive, or feminine form. Again, this suggests the complexity of Mapplethorpe’s self image.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
  • title:
    Self Portrait
  • date created:
    1985
  • materials:
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • measurements:
    38.40 x 38.60 cm (framed: 68.40 x 66.20 x 3.10 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Artist Rooms Foundation 2014
  • accession number:
    AL00364
  • gallery:
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Tell us what you think.

Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe