19th Century
Self Portrait

Graphite and pastel on paper
Image size  14 x 11 ½ inches
Gilt frame

In this self portrait, dating from the late 18th to early 19th century, the artist has chosen to depict himself resting his tousled head heavily on his left hand in a state of melancholic dishevelment, with an unbuttoned collar and distracted eyes.

Melancholia has long been associated with creative genius and was therefore seen as a fashionable affliction amongst aspiring and creative young men, particularly poets and artists.