Stanley Spencer made more than a dozen self-portraits during his career, and they may be understood as part of a larger quest to understand the self. His direct and faithful depiction in this example, painted when he was forty-three years old, suggests that his primary interest lay in recording his changing physical appearance. Yet Spencer's works overall - figure paintings and portraits of uncompromising psychological realism, and imaginative depictions of his religious visions - hint that in scrutinizing himself, the artist was also trying to come to terms with a fundamental battle between the flesh and the spirit.
Materialsoil on paperboard
40.2 x 28.9 cm
Gift of the Massey Collection of English Painting, 1946