Imprint of the Renaissance Artist in his Work: Signature, Self-Portraiture Analytical Essay by ClemenceD

Imprint of the Renaissance Artist in his Work: Signature, Self-Portraiture
An analysis of the effect of self-portraiture on the Renaissance and the artist's rising status.
# 153857 | 5,700 words | 11 sources | MLA | 2011 | FR
Published on Apr 16, 2014 in Art (History)

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In the essay, the writer focuses on C15th and 16th painting in Italy to explore the significance of self-portraiture during the Renaissance. The writer examines and analyzes several famous works and explains that these self-portraits not only signify the presence of the artist in his work, but they reveal it to the viewer and that it is crucial issue of the Renaissance aesthetic. The paper concludes that signature and self-portraiture, marking the painted object within the illusionistic space built on the panel/canvas, bound it inextricably to its patron yet increasingly to its maker.

Table of Contents:
Signature from its Very Existence to its Existence as a Play: The Work Made One's Own
Self-Portraiture as Signature, Hidden in Religious Painting: Self-Assertion through Eye
Contact and Challenge towards the Patron
Self-Portraiture as Autonomous Painting: The Device of the Mirror as Decisive
Coda: PARMIGIANINO's convex mirror

From the Paper:

"Around the same time, another artist revealed his high consciousness of the various modes, from the official to the more intimate, with which the artist can play in imprinting his presence in his work: Mantegna, in his Camera degli Sposi (c. 1465-1474), leaves three signatures: - the public one, with his name and Paduan origin inscribed in Roman capitals on the large targa dedicatoria; - the private one, in the self-por trait hidden within the foliage decoration of the pilaster which separates the so-called "meeting" scene from the dedicatory plate (fig. 4a), on a threshold within the palace's social organization, distinguishing and linking up the prince to his painter; - and the most intimate signature, in the main clouds of the oculus, at the centre of the vaulted ceiling (fig. 4b), touched lightly by sidelight. This cloudy profile, typically mantegnesque in design, constitutes the secret mark of the artist which, in turn, agrees with the general programme of the Camera where the prince asserts his right of secrecy with the Good Government of his States. As an uncertain mark because uncertainly visible, the self-portrait not only affixes an almost secret signature to the Camera (still in the process) but acts as a clue for the function of the painting within it, i.e. "paint something secret, make visible the very fact that there is something invisible." Thus, signature as the artist's mark alterna tively merges, and split up, with the subject in painting, as in every individual his name with his body."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Arasse, Daniel, Decors italiens de la Renaissance (Paris: Hazan, 2009).
  • Arasse, Daniel, Le Detail: Pour une histoire rapprochee de la peinture, 2nd ed. (Paris: Flammarion, 2008).
  • Arasse, Daniel, L'Homme en jeu: Les genies de la Renaissance, 2nd ed. (Paris: Hazan, 2008).
  • Arasse, Daniel, L'Homme en perspective: Les primitifs d'Italie, 2nd ed. (Paris: Hazan, 2008).
  • Brown, Katherine T., The Painter's Reflection: Self-Portraiture in Renaissance Venice, 1458-1625 (Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 2000).

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Imprint of the Renaissance Artist in his Work: Signature, Self-Portraiture (2014, April 16) Retrieved January 27, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Imprint of the Renaissance Artist in his Work: Signature, Self-Portraiture" 16 April 2014. Web. 27 January. 2022. <>