Selfies harp back to The Renaissance

View All Posts

Written by Victoria Louise Crump-Haill – Digital Strategist / Account Director

My Facebook feed is full of selfies, the Oscars was all about one selfie, Obama took a newsworthy one, and the phrase has even made into the Oxford Dictionary. It appears we are in the middle of a selfie revolution.

Seen as the epitome of Generation Y’s ‘ME ME ME’ apparent narcissistic and egotistical attitude to life, selfies have been criticised by many. Even the dictionary definition carries a vanity warning: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary.”

oscar selfie

But believe it or not, selfies weren’t invented as a result of the smartphone and Instagram’s boom; self-portraiture has in fact been around since history began. Yet it wasn’t until the Early Renaissance (14th century) that artists could be seen depicting themselves as the main subject or as important characters hidden within their work.

Durer

The increase in self-portrait production during The Renaissance was mainly down to the availability of better and cheaper mirrors. Another factor was the increased wealth and greater interest in ‘the individual’ as subject matter. Renaissance artists’ self-portraits were also highly idealised depictions of themselves. (Noticing a parallel here?’)

So perhaps capturing a selfie, filtering it and sharing it for the entire world to see isn’t such a new concept after all. We’re just following in the steps of our Renaissance ancestors.

Here are some of my favourite Renaissance selfies:

Raphaelparmigianino

Comments are closed.

Top

We'd love to work with you.

London

16-17 Little Portland Street
London
W1W 8BP

T. +44 (0)20 7291 5070call us
email

Singapore

8 Cross Street, Level 28
PWC Building
Singapore, 048424

T. +44 (0)20 7291 5070call us
email

Suffolk

Basepoint Unit 12a
The Havens
Ransomes Euro Park
Ipswich, IP3 9BF

T. +44 (0)1473 722 794call us
email

Call Us