The True Art of a Puerto Rican Self-Portrait.


Self Portrait
Julio Rosado Del Valle

The self-portrait is without doubt one of the deepest analysis exercises which an artist  can do. Normally it  Implies that the artist must have total knowledge of his own anatomy  and the ability to translates and recreates the characteristics of his own face, which is not a simple task in the point of view of a psychological aspect of making a precise and pure example of what he consider correct of him. A good advice that I can give to any art collector is, that always buy the ” not so typical pieces” why? This is very simple to answer supply and demand. Self Portrait will always be Rare because not to many artist practice this and  most of the time they are not for sale, artist tend to keep items like this. I have always love to buy Self Portrait to me is a Aspect where you can learn how an Artist looks at himself and this is a great plus to me when acquiring a piece.

 Self Portrait of Myrna Baez
I ask you this question can a self-portrait be the mirror of the spirit and feelings of the artist? According to a dear friend of mine Domingo Garcia this is true.  For example you can determine the particular mood that the artist was feeling at the time of the painting just based on simple characteristic of the background in the self portrait, dark background is very characteristic of a powerful statement piece that the artist want to express, like this painting by Domingo Garcia which is a very simple but dark representation of him at that moment. Note that the composition was a very simple one, only texture can be subjective of the anatomical structure of the face like for example eyes, nose and mouth. The main point of focus is based on that yellow plaster of paint which is the only bright color that can stand in this work, is like the artist put that bright color there so when you see the painting you intentionally focus your attention between his eyes and just concentrate in that point.

Self Portrait Domingo Garcia
Paper/ Oil From 2000

Many art critics have written that the  Main Component which moves the artist to portray himself is undoubtedly linked to a typical “narcissistic” act,  But to me self-portraits  must be carefully staged to show us only what the artist wishes to project, which most of the time will only display something…Feelings. In other cases the self-portrait can be a very effective form of advertising for an artist, especially for portrait painter. Now!!! Sometime you will find Self Portrait that do not hold no resemblance of the artist itself, Is more of a Integration of the Portrait and a his Particular style to end up with a Mixed Work of art like  this Painting by Arnaldo Roche Rabell which to me breaks all the basic rules of a Self Protrait.  I think that this was a Reason why I bought it HAHAHA

O Yo O Ellos
12×16 Oil Arnaldo Roche

This Practice has been extended to today, and today the most common way is a  self-portraits using a camera or other technologies that is why I think that this long tradition of the Self Portrait Painting which if you asked any teen today will call it a “Selfies” is an endangered technique by contemporary artist. In a self-portrait the artist’s subjectivity involved, himself the painter  to represent their own look, their mood is reflected in the choice of pose, gestures, colors of  clothes and even the color of their skin. Is Funny I mention this but even Francisco Oller one of the greatest PuertoRican painters  and Jose Campeche who never went out of Puerto Rico which didn’t have the opportunity to get expose to others artist did a Self Portrait.


Self Portrait Jose Campeche 1799
Francisco Oller

In my final opinion what is to me a Self Portrait??? Well to me  and strictly ME!!! A Self Portrait is a confrontation with death, a collision attempt to try and escape it,  to immortalize a personal image. A certificate of presence in absence this is a artist ticket to be remember for all eternity, cheating death in a Indirect way So we can treasure it for years to come.

Epifanio Irizarry

Joey Medrano

Note: Only Domingo Garcia and Arnaldo Roche Rabell Self Portraits are from my Personal Collection all other picture where taken from books or the internet.

One thought on “The True Art of a Puerto Rican Self-Portrait.”

  1. Hi
    I was reading this interesting article . Here you mention Domingo Garcia . I have a serigraph signed D. Garcia for an exhibition in Galeria Campeche. I believe Domingo owned this gallery . It was an exhibition for Rafael Rivera Garcia . Are they related . I also have a serigraph for an exhibition for Rafael I was wondering if Domingo can tell me more about it ? Like who designed and maybe a little history so I can pass this information to my family .
    I can not attach a picture of the Serigraph but if you send me your email I will send from there

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