tue 15/10/2019

Ego: The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits, BBC Four | reviews, news & interviews

Ego: The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits, BBC Four

Ego: The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits, BBC Four

A persuasive take on the unique art of an often neglected and dismissed genre

Laura Cumming presents 'an intelligent, probing and charming visual essay on a unique genre'

Albrecht Dürer painted himself as Jesus (pictured below). Luckily, he was blessed with the looks, the hair and the initials – echoing the geometry of his golden locks the A straddles the D in his inscribed paintings. And when this German messiah of painting died, his beguiling 1500 self-portrait – one of the most hypnotic ever painted in the history of Western art – was carried through the streets of Nuremburg, his birthplace: celebrated during his life, upon his death Dürer became a cult. A lock of that famous hair is kept at the Vienna Academy.

The self-portrait is quite unlike any other form of art, for it reveals the most intimate truths

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.