Marc Quinn

South London Gallery

Self-portrait sculpture is conspicuous for its relative absence from art history. Though casting from life flourished as a genre during the Italian quattrocento, only in this century has self-portrait sculpture been given serious consideration. Until the early 1900s, for example, the celebrated collection of artists’ self-portraits in the Uffizi consisted entirely of paintings. The great Neoclassical sculptors Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen both carved self-portrait busts, but only Canova made it into the Uffizi collection, because he depicted himself on canvas.

British artists have been particularly active in the recent efflorescence of the genre. Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn have used casts of their own bodies as the starting point for many of their sculptures. Not that they would necessarily regard their effigies as conventional assertions of selfhood. Despite their undoubted

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