Manchester Art Gallery

Artists in the Frame: Self-Portraits by Van Dyck and Others

Sir Anthony Van Dyck's last Self-Portrait is one of the most remarkable self-portraits ever painted in Britain.

Manchester Art Gallery
Thursday 21 May 2015–Monday 31 August 2015

Refined and elegant with an exuberant gilded frame it is a powerful statement of artistic identity and status – here is the celebrated court painter of Charles I who changed portraiture in Britain and transformed social perceptions of the artist from artisan to creative genius. This show highlighted artists’ self-portraits on display at the Manchester Art Gallery.

Artists in the Frame explores identity and self-expression. See self-portraits by artists including Van Dyck, William Hogarth, Angelica Kauffman, Wyndham Lewis, Sarah Lucas, Julian Opie and Grayson Perry. Why have these artists put themselves ‘in the frame’? Are dress, pose, setting, props and framing significant to their self-presentation? Do symbols and other visual clues point to who they really are?

Spanning over 300 years up until the present day and featuring photographs, paintings, digital and graphic works this is a unique opportunity to see self-portraits from the gallery’s collection alongside loans from the National Portrait Gallery and contemporary artists.

This exhibition was organised in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, with support from the Art Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Van Dyck’s Self-portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery following a major public appeal with the Art Fund and thanks to the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and others. Further information about Van Dyck, the portrait, and the tour can be found here.


Self-portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck, c.1640 © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Acquired with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund in honour of Sir David Verey (Chairman of the Art Fund 2004- 2014), the Portrait Fund, The Monument Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Aldama Foundation, the Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation, Sir Harry Djanogly CBE, Lord and Lady Farmer of Bishopsgate, Matthew Freud, Catherine Green, Dr Bendor Grosvenor, Alexander Kahane, the Catherine Lewis Foundation, the Material World Foundation, The Sir Denis Mahon Charitable Trust, Cynthia Lovelace Sears, two major supporters who wish to remain anonymous, and many contributions from the public following a joint appeal by the National Portrait Gallery and the Art Fund.

Louise Jopling
Self Portrait 1877
©Manchester City Galleries

Wyndham Lewis
Portrait of the Artist as the Painter Raphael 1921
© by kind permission of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust (a registered charity) / Bridgeman Images photo credit: Manchester City Galleries.