Visions of the Self - the Self-Portrait from Rembrandt to Damien Hirst
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In the year of Rembrandt, Gagosian pays homage to the Dutch master with a large exhibition. At the centre of the project, the Self-Portrait with Two Circles from Keenwood House, which arrives at Grosvenor Hill thanks to a recent accord between the international gallery and the English Heritage Foundation. Besides representing a masterpiece of the last years of Rembrandt van Rijn, the painting bears witness to the extraordinary interest shown by the painter for self-portraits - he created more than forty during his life, all the while developing an ever-increasingly personal and introspective style. So it’s no coincidence the exceptional occasion of the painting being on hand at the Gagosian represents an opportunity to reflect on the representation of the self, in a timeless journey from the Golden Age of Dutch Painting to the present day. The image of the aged Rembrandt, at work with his palette and brushes, in front of two circles whose meaning is still obscure, dialogues with self-portraits signed by Pablo Picasso and by Francis Bacon, by Lucian Freud and by Jean-Michel Basquiat, finally getting to living artists like Georg Baselitz, Damien Hirst, Giuseppe Penone, Cindy Sherman. The cherry on top is a new work by British painter Jenny Saville created specifically for the occasion as an answer to the masterpiece painted 354 years ago.