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Short pieces on a new theme every month
 
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This month...
  Health Care on the Line
 

L'Homme Blessé (Self-Portrait)

LhommeBlessesSelfPortrait 1992 Gallo

Peter Gallo

About the artist: 

Peter Gallo is an artist and writer based in Vermont. He has a PhD in art history and has worked as a psychiatric social worker for many years. His work is collected internationally; he is represented by Anthony Reynolds Gallery in London and by Zieher, Smith & Horton in New York City, where his work is currently appearing in a show entitled "Take Back Vermont."

About the artwork:

"L'Homme Blessé" (Self-Portrait): Oil on printed linen on wood frame, 46.9 x 57.1 cm 

"L'Homme Blessé" (The Wounded Man) is the title of a self-portrait by Gustave Courbet. Painted between 1844 and 1854, it was part of a cycle of self-portraits by the artist, who was still a young man. I became fascinated with these paintings during the time of my doctoral dissertation, while exploring the impact of clinical science on artistic experience since the eighteenth century. What strikes me about this cycle of youthful and exaggerated romantic self-portraits--especially the wounded man--is the way the pictures embody scientists' wish to capture, identify, and measure extreme states of physical and psychic experience--anger, rest, romantic ecstasies, woundedness. My own self-portrait as a wounded man is, like Courbet's, exaggerated, perhaps even parodic, as represented pain often risks appearing comic. Like Courbet, I worked on my self-portrait on and off for quite a number of years. Years into it, I painted on the tuque (knitted hat), which looks like the one I sleep in. I recognized it and completed the painting.

Visuals editor:

Justin Sanders

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