Robert Mapplethorpe

Self Portrait

1981, printed 1992

Medium
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Dimensions
Support: 341 x 341 mm
frame: 686 x 659 x 28 mm
Acquisition
ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Reference
AR00228

Online caption

As in his portrait of Nick Marden, Mapplethorpe photographs himself from behind, but here the emphasis is on abstract design. The “V”-shape of the wall-mounted frame (actually one of Mapplethorpe’s own sculptures) echoes the diagonals of his heavily coiffed hair and intersects the inverted “V”-shape of the white piping on his leather jacket. The effect is very art deco. Surface style takes precedence over character depiction or psychological insight.