This essay looks at several problematic Annibale Carracci self-portraits in the Uffizi which have contributed to an image of the artist that is undeniably out of focus. The most famous image of the artist is preserved in a pair of nearly identical canvases—the Self-Portrait on an Easel in the Uffizi and that in the Hermitage—that receive a careful attention here. Identifying the Hermitage painting as an autograph, the author analyzes its distinction from the ultimate meta-painting, the celebrated lost self-portrait made on the artist’s palette. The essay interprets the Hermitage painting as a reflection on immortality: the artist addressing his viewer in the long durée with a rare modesty of self-presentation. Tying together all the examples, the corpus is a testament to the allure of Annibale’s reputation, and to the enduring pursuit of an elusive quarry, an authentic self-portrait for the Uffizi collection.
Imagines è pubblicata a Firenze dalle Gallerie degli Uffizi. Direttore responsabile: Eike D. Schmidt. Redazione: Dipartimento di Comunicazione Digitale. ISSN 2533-2015
Gail Feigenbaum, An Evanescent Corpus of Self-Portraits by Annibale Carracci in the Uffizi, in “Imagines”, n. 4, maggio 2020, pp. 76-97