Gallery of self-portraits from Tokyo School of Fine Arts graduates
This page includes self-portraits by professors of Western painting department in Tokyo School of Fine Arts, and Chinese and Korean students from 1910s to 1930s.
Tokyo School of Fine Arts' self-portraits use small size canvas, the faces of artists occupy the most part of the canvas and play a role of expressing artists' characters and feelings. In the early period, self-portraits were created as a record or commemoration. Most of the self-portraits are painted in three-quarter face format as it is the natural position for artists to see themselves while painting using a mirror. Therefore, we can assume that many artists painted self-portrait using mirrors. Some artists' self portraits are frontward, and it might be painted based on photographs.
In terms of the subject matter, the change of costume is noticeable. In can be divided into traditional costume, Western style costume, school uniform, and Japanese costume.
The most prevalent costume is Western style dress which is easy to present modernity. Kuroda Seiki, Okada Saburosuke; Chinese artists Chen Baoyi, Wang Yuezhi, Ding Yanyong, Wei Tianlin, Guo Baichuan; Korean artists Kim Kwan-ho, Kim Chang-sup, Kim Ho-yong, Kim Hae-sun, Park No-hong, Gil Jin-sup wear Western style clothes in their self-portraits. Because Western style suit had an imbedded meaning of being intellectual as it was introduced by intellects, they wanted to present themselves as educated people. Kuroda, especially, wears a beret to present the French inflence. Ding Yanyong and Kim Chang-sup present themselves like 'dandy boys.'
School uniform can show their social status clearer than any other clothes. Some artists wore school uniform to present their status as a student: Li Shutong, Zheng Xiaogu, Yan Zhikai, Xu Xingzhi, Lin Naigan, Wang Manshuo, Park Guang-jin, Kim Hong-sik, Song Byung-don, Lee Ma-dong, Oh Ji-ho.
It is rare, but some Korea artists, such as Lee Kyung-jin and Kim Chan-young wore Japanese costume to present assimilation with Japanese culture.
Many Korean artists, including Go Hui-dong wore traditional costume to present their national identities. Those artists include Go Hui-dong, Lee Jong-wu, Jang Ik, Kang Pil-sang, Park Geun-ho. Most Chinese artists wear Western style suit or school uniform. Wang Jichuan wore traditional Chinese costume. It might be an reaction towards to Japanese students wearing Japanese costume in their self portraits. For Korean artists, they wanted to express sorrow of colonization and present nationality strongly.
In addition, it is interesting to examine the artists' signature on self portrait. In the early period, many artists signed their name in English or French, but after 1930s, many artists signed their name in Chinese or Korean. We can see the change of artists' notion of Western art, from unconditional acceptance to internalization or combining with their own culture.