Self-Portrait

Artist: Jean Étienne Liotard (Swiss, Geneva 1702–1789 Geneva)

Date: ca. 1778–80

Medium: Roulette, engraving, over mezzotint; proof before letters

Dimensions: Plate: 19 x 15 3/4 in. (48.3 x 40 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949

Accession Number: 49.98.1

Description

Liotard’s career as a portraitist took him from Geneva to Paris, Vienna, and London and included long sojourns in Turkey. During a visit to England in 1773, he exhibited a pastel self-portrait at the Royal Academy that he later transformed into this black-and-white print, probably under the influence of British masters of mezzotint. The medium’s non-linear qualities are particularly well suited to capturing the tonal gradations of pastel. Famous for portraying his subjects frankly, Liotard also excelled in the poetic handling of light and here combined mezzotint, engraving, and roulette in an experimental, expressive manner.

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