Seeing Ourselves

Seeing Ourselves

Women's Self-Portraits

  1. Frances Borzello
  • ISBN 9780500239469
  • 22.90 x 15.20 cm
  • Hardback
  • 272pp
  • With 200 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • First published 2016

An acclaimed history of women’s self-portraiture from the 12th century to the present day, in a completely new reading format. The full verve of Frances Borzello’s enthralling text, and the hypnotic intensity of the accompanying self-portraits, are revealed to the full in a completely revised edition of this inspiring book.

Seeing Ourselves

‘This splendid book is a tour de force on self-portraiture in the Western world … Its lucid prose, evocative illustrations and handsome production make it a joy to read and savour’ – Times Higher Education
‘Beautifully presented … invites us to consider women’s self-portraiture as a genre in its own right’– The Times Literary Supplement
‘Books of this high calibre are few and far between in feminist art history’– Library Journal
'Some books are so beautiful, you tremble to open them … Art books are too often jargon-filled, theoretical to a headache-inducing degree. But this one is both lucid and unexpectedly compelling … A fantastic journey'– Observer
‘A landmark study'– Daily Telegraph
‘Borzello has written an invaluable book’ – Times Literary Supplement

This richly diverse exploration of female artists and self-portraits is a brilliant and poignant demonstration of originality in works of haunting variety.

Among the earliest self-portraits are those in medieval manuscripts, from whose pages nuns gaze at us across the centuries. In 16th-century Italy, Sofonisba Anguissola paints one of the longest series of self-portraits, spanning adolescence to old age. In 17th-century Holland, Judith Leyster shows herself at the easel as a relaxed, self-assured professional. In the 18th century, artists from Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun to Angelica Kauffman express both passion for their craft and the idea of femininity; and in the 19th the salons and art schools at last open their doors to a host of talented women artists, including Berthe Morisot, ushering in a new and resonant self-confidence.

The modern period demolishes taboos: Alice Neel painting herself nude at 80, Frida Kahlo rendering physical pain, Cindy Sherman exploring identity, Marlene Dumas dispensing with all boundaries.

Frances Borzello has specialized in the social history of art since obtaining her doctorate at the University of London. Her publications include The Naked Nude, A World of Our Own and Reclining Nude, all published by Thames & Hudson.