Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Van Gogh painted a total of some 35 self-portraits during the course of his career. Of these, about 29 date from Paris. He very much wanted to paint portraits in this period, but could not afford models. Using his own reflection was a natural, inexpensive and easy solution. It allowed him to experiment with various styles, techniques and effects of light and color. Most of the Parisian self-portraits are rather smal. They were clearly meant as studies and as experiments. This can be seen in the loose, very free manner in which many are executed, and in the use of cheap materials such as cardboard in place of linen or canvas.