Big Self-Portrait  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Big Self-Portrait (1968) is a photorealist autopotrait painting by Chuck Close.

It is a black and white portrait of close, unshaven, wild hair, cigarette lodged in his mouth.

Although his later paintings differed in method from his earlier canvases, the preliminary process remained the same. To create his grid work copies of photos, Close put a grid on the photo and on the canvas and copied cell by cell. Typically, each square within the grid is filled with roughly executed regions of color (usually consisting of painted rings on a contrasting background) which give the cell a perceived 'average' hue which makes sense from a distance. His first tools for this included an airbrush, rags, razor blade, and an eraser mounted on a power drill. His first picture with this method was Big Self Portrait, a black and white enlargement of his face to a 107.5 x 83.5 canvas, made in over four months in 1968, and acquired by the Walker Art Center in 1969. He made seven more black and white portraits during this period. He has been quoted as saying that he used such diluted paint in the airbrush that all eight of the paintings were made with a single tube of Mars Black acrylic.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Big Self-Portrait" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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