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This image of a dashing, even louche, painter in his studio shows one of the new kinds of artistic identity that emerged in the nineteenth century.

The artist in this picture is presented as a fashionable and urbane young gentleman, a distinctly modern figure. His foppish persona contrasts with the workshop-like setting. The portrait presents the artist as a man of fashion and wit, rather than an artisan or labourer, or even as a sober professional or an intellectual, roles that had dominated the self-portrait tradition in the past.

August 2004