Portrait of an Artist in His Studio


European school

About 1780-1795
more object details

General Description

Is this painting a portrait or a self-portrait? It seems to play with the conventions of both genres, and neither the artist nor the sitter is known today. The artist shows the painter working on a large, arched canvas, most likely an altarpiece, and surrounded by the familiar studio props of a history painter: studies of male nudes, a plaster cast of a sculptural fragment, a human skull, and a military helmet. Even though we don’t know the identity of the sitter, certain clues, like his stylish red suit, allow us to date the painting to the end of the 18th century.