Van Gogh. Self-Portraits ★★★★★ The Courtauld Gallery | Feb 3 - May 8, 2022


"People say that it’s difficult to know oneself… but it’s not easy to paint oneself either" – Vincent van Gogh, in a letter to his brother Theo, 5-6 September 1889. The simplest explanation of Van Gogh's self-portraits is that they saved money on the cost of models. The psychological explanations abound! This extraordinary exhibition brings together sixteen of these fascinating works and allows us to trace Van Gogh's intriguing development as an artist. The early Self-Portrait with Felt Hat (1886-1887) shows the influence of the peinture à l'essence of Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec while the Self-Portrait (Paris, spring 1887) echoes the pointillist technique associated with Georges Seurat. The contrast of these works with the famous Self-Portrait With Bandaged Ear (Arles, January 1889) and Self-Portrait (Saint-Rémy, first week of September 1889) is striking. The development of Van Gogh's confidence and his very personal style is nothing short of breathtaking. Only two small rooms house this beautifully curated show but be sure to set aside lots of time to savour this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. Whether your interests take you on a journey to trace the development of Van Gogh's tortured personal story or to contemplate the path of a painter developing his unique genius, every moment spent in the company of these masterpieces of portraiture is bound to enrich and reward.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat (September-October 1887). Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation).

When, Where, Getting there:

Most Popular

Orlando ★★★★★ Jermyn Street Theatre | Apr 28 - May 28, 2022

Love Is Only Love ★★★★★ The Other Palace | Apr 29 - May 15, 2022

Rabbit Hole ★★★★★ Union Theatre | Apr 12 - May 1, 2022

Alright Bitches! ★★★★ Above The Stag Theatre | May 11 - Jun 4, 2022

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep ★★★★ Southwark Playhouse | Apr 27 - May 21, 2022

Dreamgirls ★★★★★ New Wimbledon Theatre | May 9 - 14, 2022

La Bohème ★★★★★ King's Head Theatre | Apr 26 - May 28, 2022

German Cornejo’s Wild Tango ★★★ Sadler's Wells Peacock Theatre | May 12 - 21, 2022

Bonnie & Clyde ★★★★★ Arts Theatre | Apr 9 - Jul 10, 2022

Sidney Fox's Crime ★★★ Above The Stag Theatre | Apr 20 - May 7, 2022

The City Life Magazine | Reviews & Ratings