Self-Portrait: Berthe Morisot

Self-Portrait: Berthe Morisot

Self-Portrait (Autoportrait) is an 1885 painting in the Impressionist style by the leading female French artist Berthe Morisot. This work is located in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, France.

Analysis of Morisot’s Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait (1885) shows the artist, Berthe Morisot, turning her head to the left to appear before us in the almost full bust, though with both of her arms out of frame.

From the spiraling shape on the left, we deduce her to be holding the palette with her right hand and therefore likely painting with her left. She wears a tight-fitting russet jacket with a dark shawl as her collar. The jacket appears to be spotted with paint (notably along the arm to our side) and has two flowers as decoration on one side of the chest. Their stylized appearance and vivid hue make them seem painted onto the fabric.

In this self-portrait we observe Morisot’s dashing brushstroke being used to configure a rather precise figure placed with her back to an abstract foundation. The approximative rendition of this surround, which includes the palette with the paints, tells us that the painter’s eye is focused on her subject’s face and upper bust. This is where appreciates distinct shapes: the lineaments of her own face.

We do not look at this painting for any particular Impressionistic interest. The subject is neither broad nature nor a social scene; there are no significant plays of light over familiar shapes. The self-portrait testifies to Morisot’s competence with the quick brushstroke, and something of the influence of Degas, the painter she is closest to in this period.

Location of Morisot’s Self-Portrait

This work is located in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, France.

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