Computer-aided comparisons made between a series of portraits of British monarchs and the self-portraits of the artists who painted them prove that there has always been a hidden agenda in top-level portraiture, argues the art historian Simon Abrahams.Ah, we always knew those artists were big narcissists!
After lengthy research and the examination of hundreds of famous paintings from new angles, Abrahams has launched his contentious theory through his website, ArtScholar.org. He believes it is clear that many portraitists, painters who were often doing this kind of work just for money, chose to assert themselves by reproducing their own facial characteristics within those of their powerful sitters.
"In fact, of course, any art student can paint a pretty good likeness of someone and the truth is that everything that we see in the world, we only see in our minds anyway. We can only interpret what we see through what we already know. Great artists have known this instinctively and so have deliberately painted their own faces, even when they are supposed to be reproducing reality. It is rather like the way that when we look at our own children, all we can really see is little images of ourselves."Ah, it's not really just the artists, is it? We all see ourselves everywhere. Or am I only saying that because that's the way it is for me, and for me, it's all about me? What about you? Are you like me?