Robert Mapplethorpe

Self Portrait

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.

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  • title:
    Self Portrait
  • accession number:
    AL00364
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • date created:
    1985
  • measurements:
    38.40 x 38.60 cm (framed: 68.40 x 66.20 x 3.10 cm)
  • credit line:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Artist Rooms Foundation 2014
  • copyright:
    © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe