Self-Portrait 10 B; Portrait of the artist as a Pict

20 Feb




This picture is another version of 10A and for that reason I have numbered it the same, also keeping to my initial decision only to have 10 in this series.

It put me in mind of the film Braveheart written by Randal Wallace, directed by Mel Gibson (1995). Set in 13th century Scotland the hero leaps around painted blue, but the historical inaccuracies of that film are staggering; The film character William Wallace has been referred to as “farcical representation as a wild and hairy highlander painted with woad (1,000 years too late) running amok in a tartan kilt (500 years too early).” The ancient Iceni tribe of Britannia allegedly painted their faces and bodies with woad. The Romans called them Picti (the Latin word for “painted”). Caesar also noted in his book about the Gallic wars De Bello Gallicum, that Britons wore moustaches, whereas Roman soldiers were clean-shaven, hence I suppose the hairy Mel Gibson (with no moustache). There is some contention about whether the dyes for painting were derived from the woad plant (blue) or if it was copper oxide (green) There have also been suggestions that an iron derivative was used, but prussian blue- a ferrocyanate -wasn’t invented until the 18th century. Caesar uses the word “vitrium” which may refer either to green glass or perhaps to woad. “Omnes vero se Britanni vitro inficiunt, quod caeruleum efficit colorem, atque hoc horribiliores sunt in pugna aspectu.” (All the Britons, indeed, dye themselves with [glass/woad], which occasions a bluish color, and thereby have a more terrible appearance in battle). The use of woad (which was used to colour textiles) as a body paint is to a certain extent presumptive.  

This picture ends a process of self-discovery through art which was unexpected when I started the series. I intended just to use the self-portrait as an object, but in the course they revealed a lot of things about my inner self – a kind of Zen exploration. I recommend using this activity to anyone interested in that journey.

The other thing that was interesting was the relationship between the face and the Chest X-ray in each image and how the association of those elements changed through the series.

I’m still not sure where this will take me and what direction I shall go in but I am still having fun doing it.

3 Responses to “Self-Portrait 10 B; Portrait of the artist as a Pict”

  1. Green Cathedral of South Africa February 20, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    Funny …. I’m reading your caption now but when I saw the picture in the WordPress Reader I thought immediate of a movie poster: “Tony the Barbarian” 😀 😀 😀 Hope you don’t feel offended. Love this self-portrait (and the documented explanation).
    Greetings from Stanford, South Africa 😉

    • Xraypics February 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      No offence taken mate, I treat the image as an object. Thanks for the comment. Latin barba means a beard anyway, so appropriate. Tony

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