Art historian gives talk at Sidmouth Society of Artists

Art historian Lin Holdridge. Picture: Terence Crook

Art historian Lin Holdridge. Picture: Terence Crook - Credit: Terence Crook

Expert spoke on the history of self-portraiture and the lives of Rembrandt and Van Gogh

Self-portraiture was the focus of a talk given to the Sidmouth Society of Arts by a retired art historian.

Professor Lin Holdridge, formerly of Plymouth University, explained the development of self-portraiture through the ages at the meeting on Thursday, January 24.

She identified the way artists often included a self-portrait within their paintings during the Italian renaissance. For example, in 1475, Botticelli painted himself with the Medici family in his work The Adoration of the Magi.

Professor Holdridge showed how the painters expressed their own emotions through their self-portraits, ranging from self-importance to sadness and despair as they grew older.

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In the second half of the evening, Lin analysed the lives of Rembrandt and Van Gogh in more depth, through their many self-portraits. Rembrandt lived in poverty but painted with dispassionate truth; he was buried in a paupers’ grave. Van Gogh’s deteriorating mental health and inner turmoil can famously be seen in his paintings. He also lived in poverty, selling only one painting out of 850 he completed over 10 years.

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