Mestrovic was born in Dalmatia, the son of a shepherd. He studied sculpture in Vienna, and then in Paris, where he met Rodin. From 1907 to 1912 Mestrovic worked on a large architectural and sculptural shrine, the Temple of Kossovo, which was to commemorate heroes from Serbian medieval history. This shrine was not realised but it gained the artist a major European reputation. In 1915 a group of British admirers mounted a large Mestrovic exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the artist paid his first visit to Britain at the time of this exhibition. This self-portrait was executed during this stay.