There’s an exhibition opening later this month at the National Gallery in London called Rebels and Matyrs. The theme is a common one that artists sometimes use to their own advantage. Promoting themselves as the outsider or the misunderstood genius.
The exhibition includes artists from Romanticism through to the 20th century; Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Rodin, Picasso and Schiele.
Some created their own myths and some were really misunderstood geniuses that lived troubled lives.
Mark Irving from the Times newspaper has wrote a review of the exhibition, and more interestingly about artists and how self absorbed we often are..
Artists on the road to martyrdom
“Artists find nothing quite as fascinating as themselves. When the Medici started their celebrated collection of artist self-portraits, housed in the corridor that Giorgio Vasari built in 1565 to link the Uffizi via the Ponte Vecchio with the Pitti Palace, they set in train a cult of the self that pervades contemporary art today.
Walk through any graduate art show and you’ll see the signs: the shaky video work, the obscure narratives, the fetishistic self-absorption, the over- written “artist’s statement”. The blame for much of this selfimportance can be laid at the door of Romanticism, that seizure of the imagination that dominated the 19th century, a period when artists shook off their feudal ties with the established order and started polishing the first-person pronoun.” Times Online