In the 17thcentury the French Académie de peinture et de sculpture developed a hierarchy of painting genres. With history, mythology and religious paintings at the top followed by portraits, everyday life, landscape, animal painting and finally still life. If a 17thcentury still life painter wanted to elevate him or herself, adding a self-portrait (usually in a reflection) was one way to do it. And it does cheat death. The Self Portrait after David Bally at the top of this post was shortlisted for the National Photographic Portrait Prize and was exhibited nationally and at the Australian National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.
All images © Kevin Best