A self-portrait is a representation in which the artist creates an image of herself. She can draw, paint, photograph or make a sculpture of herself.


Today making a self-portrait is the most widespread form of everyday entertainment for all the many people who take “selfies” with their cell phones at most any occasion.

There are also other common motifs in visual arts: portrait, nude, landscape, still life , historical and political motifs…

Today, contemporary artists usually do not limit themselves to separate or singular motifs. A frequently common characteristic of contemporary art is the mixing of motifs in order to produce a certain message.

Here you can see some examples of artworks with different motifs.


Željko Jerman’s Self-Portraits – "My Year"

Look at the Željko Jerman example.

Every day of the year 1977, artist Željko Jerman took a photograph of himself, sometimes with his artist friends, and attached it to a plain piece of white paper. He marked the date and wrote down what was important to him for that day. This way he created a photo-diary of his artistic year.

To follow the traces of the artists, you can replace pen and paper with a keyboard, and the classic camera with a digital one, or with a smartphone, and keep your photo-diary – your daily words and images – by writing your thoughts right next to your pictures that appear on the screen.”

Jože Tisnikar’s Self-Portrait and Portraits

Artist Jože Tisnikar often included self-portrait in his painted works. He also had a lot of artist friends who were impressed by his talent and personality and therefore represented his portrait in their artworks.

Portrait is an artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant.

It displays a likeness and the personality of a person.

Here you can compare Tisnikar’s self-portrait with the portraits of him made by other artists: Herman Pivk, Zdenko Huzjan, and finally Dragiša Modrinjak, as the photographer who made photo portraits of Jože Tisnikar in different periods of his life. 

Antoni Tàpies - Self-Portraits

Antoni Tàpies:“During that time, a student by force and a Sunday painter, I would often see my reflection in my closet mirror, and if its doors were ajar, I sometimes stumbled upon a pale young man, seated on his bed, looking at me with eyes that always had dark rings under them.”

Artwork with a Historical and Political Theme

In a canvas from 1974, created in memory of the Catalan anarchist Salvador Puig Antich, who was executed by the Franco regime, his protest attempts to break through barriers imposed by language. Colour, for example, is not applied with a brush directly onto the canvas, but represented in an almost conventional way through a colour chart that has been stuck on to it. Beside the colour chart the artist placed a jersey with its sleeves half open, a relatively common motif in his work and one which often represents the artist himself embodied in a poor, humble object.


is an artistic representation of a naked human body and is used to express certain ideals or even basic specific features of male and female beauty.

Still life

is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate (non-living) subject matter, typically commonplace objects that may be either natural or manmade (traditionally fruit, vegetables, flowers and similar).



is an artistic representation of a certain, usually rural, part of a country or region.


“Discovering Art” is an educational portal where you can discover interesting facts about art and museums of art.

The online portal Discovering Art is the collaborative effort of four institutions:

Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Fundació Antoni Tàpies from Barcelona, Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina and Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška from Slovenj Gradec.

The portal is part of the European project Performing the Museum.