Getting My First Caricature Portrait
I sat on a four legged chair with a back rest for over twenty five minutes on the 659 year old Charles Bridge in the beautiful European city of Prague in Czech Republic, as the artist drew a caricature of me. My legs were crossed, my two palms also clenched to each other, rather loosely, and placed on my knee. My sunglasses were tucked in my shirt, just below my neck. My left side beards have finally connected with those from the right, in a rather disorganized manner. I tilted a bit sideways and grinned, looking in the direction of the painter. I had to be like that for that period of time.
Passersby grinned at me. Some look at me and stare at the artist’s drawing and wave a thumb up at me, probably acknowledging the artist’s good work or our similarity. A few were so attracted to stop and take a picture of the setting, both me and the artist at work. It may have been a great photo. One of those cool photos you get into but you never get to see them. Anyway, the artist was done and I rolled the masterpiece, held it in in my left hand and continued the tour.
Arriving back to my residence in Germany, I taped it on the inner side of my bedroom door and threw my towel over it. I always hang my towel over my door. So for the most part of the time and when I rarely do, I can only see the lower side of the picture which shows my crossed legs. The face is always covered by the towel, denying me the opportunity to look at my face and evoke the memories of that trip.
I used my phone to take a snapshot of the image and I uploaded the image as my Whatsapp profile picture, a lot of people didn’t recognize me. Not that the artist didn’t get it right. Oh he did! It was a remarkable piece of art, drawn in a short time with much attention to detail seen in the art work. But they didn’t recognize me because I had kept beards for about two and a half months and it is a caricature of me. It is not exactly meant to look me, just an exaggerated impression of me.
A Way to Get a Better Portrait
But seriously, why do I need to hang a portrait of myself? I always wonder when I see people hang pictures of themselves with no obvious background that evokes a memory or shows a feeling. Perhaps to them only. Having a picture of myself with no iconic background like the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal or even the Egyptian Pyramids, not me. Some photos make us look so good and for some reason, it makes us feel good on the inside. So why not look at it every day and bring those sweet feelings for you.
I had asked for a portrait of myself as a perfect way of remembering my trip to Prague. Anytime I stare at the drawing, the only thing I remember is where I sat to be drawn. The perfect memorabilia I thought.
The First Self-Portrait
Later, I found myself in Albrecht Durer’s house turned museum. According to popular references, Albrecht is the first person to paint a self-portrait and hang it in his dwelling. He was a successful German painter that lived in the 16th century. It was around the year 1500 when Albrecht Durer painted the first self-portrait of the world. He felt he could paint himself and hang it somewhere to enjoy looking at it, most probably. Because that’s what paintings are for right? This notion of creating so many images of ourselves in form portraits or selfies is of interest to a lot of researchers, often trying to investigate whether it has to do with self-esteem, appreciation and how people see you.
As of then, no one could understand the point of Albrecht’s painting a portrait of himself. He further went ahead to inscribe “I Albrecht Durer of Nuremberg painted myself thus, with undying colours, at the age of twenty-eight years.” Quite pompous some might say. Even those who preserved his works and his house as a museum didn’t find a reason why he painted himself.
But nowadays, it is very common to see a lot of people hang portraits of themselves in their living rooms or offices. I am curious to know if you derive anything from looking at your portrait. Do you generally fancy looking at yourself or what is it you gain from having a self-portrait of yourself hanging on the walls of your house or office? Please comment below.