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Annibale Carracci (Bologna 1560-Rome 1609)

A self-portrait on an easel c. 1603-05

RCIN 901984

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This study for a painted self-portrait is an exercise in layers of illusion. The lower composition shows a canvas bearing a self-portrait, on an easel in an interior with a mirror beyond. A dog looks up to the canvas, believing the portrait to be its master; the cat below would, in the finished painting, appear to be seated 'on' the frame. The upper composition is the portrait to be depicted on the fictive canvas, with a circular mirror reflecting the artist/viewer.

Cat. 7