top of page

Portraits of painters by painters

Hello everyone in this letter I wanted to show examples of painters who painted other painters.

Apparently, It is very common throughout history painters inspired each other and helped push each other, sometimes they even disrupted and changed the direction of a style and influenced each other.

painting other artists is an enrichment both for the painter and for the painted.

Rembrandt Harmenszoonz van Rijn painted by Govert Flinck This portrait of Rembrandt was painted by one of his students, Govert Flinck, while he was studying with him. Here he uses props and costume to dress his master up as a shepherd and paints him in the very style that Rembrandt was becoming famous for. Due to the fact that Rembrandt painted so many self-portraits, the figure is instantly recognizable as him. Rembrandt ran a workshop and through his career taught many students, this was early in Rembrandt's career when he was about 30 years old and Flinck was about 21. Both had successful painting careers during the 17th century in the period known as the Dutch Baroque.

The Apotheosis of Homer

The Apotheosis of Homer is a bit different then most of the examples I have in this news letter since Ingres hadn’t necessarily painted contemporary living colleagues of his, Here Ingres is painting his heroes, this nearly seventeen foot long canvas reworks Raphael’s Vatican fresco, The School of Athens (1509-1511) and thus pays tribute to the genius Ingres most admired.

This painting is an incredible one for several reasons but in the context of this letter I would like to point out the enormous ambition he had of painting no less then 46 accurate portraits in a realistic life size composition.

For the average Joe this painting is a bunch of strangers standing together, it’s only when looking at the painting closely that we realize that on the left bottom it is Nicolas Poussin looking back at us, or Raphael Sanzio, Or William Shakespeare, Dante, Molière, and so many more.

Ingres exhibited the Apotheosis of Homer (1827) in the annual Salon. His grandest expression of the classical ideal.

exhibited at the Louvre. The symmetrical composition depicts Homer being crowned by a winged figure personifying Victory or the Universe. Forty-four additional figures pay homage to the poet in a kind of classical confession of faith.

Dante, the Medieval poet and humanist stands at the extreme left wearing a red scull cap and cape;

Phidias, the greatest of ancient sculptors is standing to the right of Homer, in red, holding a mallet;

Raphael, third from the left edge, top row, is in profile and wears Renaissance garb; Ingres (he’s put himself in rather good company don’t you think?) is the young face looking out at us beside Raphael;

Poussin, points us toward Homer from the lower left of the canvas; and

Michelangelo is the bearded figure at lower right.

Perhaps what we can learn from this painting is that there are transcendental interactions with people that are no longer amongst us but have shaped the world we live with their thought spirit and with their artistic achievements.

Group Artist Portrait painted by Henri Fantin-Latour

In 1863 for the first time an exhibit was created in Paris from the artwork which was rejected by the jurors of the Salon of the French Academy. This became known as the “Salon des Refuses” and included paintings by Eduoard Manet and James Abbott McNeil Whistler.

Henri Fantin-Latour, whose work was also rejected from the main Salon, painted the above group portrait in 1864 as a reaction to the idea of the Salon des Refuses and narrow restrictions of the Salon jurors. This was an homage to the Romantic painter Delacroix who died shortly after the Salon opened.

The artists in the portrait were all fans of Delacroix's style and several were artists whose work had been featured in the Salon des Refusés. Included in the portrait was a self-portrait (in white), a framed portrait of Delacroix, Manet, Whistler and Charles Baudelaire as well as other painters and writers.

Vincent Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers by Paul Gauguin, 1888, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

For several months in the fall of 1888 the artists Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin lived together in the town of Arles in the region of Provence in France. They were friends and were both inspired by each other, though their personalities clashed and after three months Gauguin moved out. However during the time they lived together in "The Yellow House" they painted side by side and also painted each other.

Van Gogh looked up to Gauguin, who he considered the more experienced painter. Van Gogh was pleased when his friend created a painting of him painting. Van Gogh painted many self-portraits and due to that we can recognize his features here, such as his signature beard and red hair. We can also recognize that Van Gogh is painting the sunflowers that he would later be famous for.

In Gauguin's signature style he blurs the lines of inside and outside, of painting and still-life object, but what comes through in this is that while he may have had a difficult time living with Van Gogh, he respected him as an artist.

The Balcony, Edouard Manet, 1868-69, Musée d'Orsay

Berthe Morisot painted by Edouard Manet

The artist Berthe Morisot was the sister-in-law of Edouard Manet and was herself also a French Impressionist painter. Morisot was married to Manet's brother and the two of them were good friends.

Berthe Morisot is the woman seated on the left. The Bacony was inspired by Goya's Majas at the Balcony and was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1869. Manet was often influenced by the Old Masters, but would depict figures in a modern way. Here a family looks out at the city of Paris from their balcony. When it was exhibited it received a lot of criticism, the figures were painted in the loose style of Impressionism and there is no narrative which was the opposite of critically acclaimed work at that time.The other figures in the painting include the artist Jean Baptiste Antoine Guillemet standing in the center and violinist Fanny Claus on the right. There is also a forth figure in the background who is hard to see which is thought to be Manet’s young son Léon.

Manet doesn't portray Morisot as a painter here, but uses her as a model, nothing lets the viewer know anything about her. The Balcony was the first of several of Manet's paintings that Berthe Morisot would appear in.

Mary Cassatt Holding the Cards by Edgar Degas, c-1880-84

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas and American Impressionist Mary Cassatt from Philadelphia became friends when Cassatt moved to Paris to paint. Cassatt attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art from 1861-65 and when she finished she moved to Paris in 1866 to learn from French painters and start a professional painting career.

After being in Paris for several years she was introduced to Degas, whose work she admired. He mentored Cassatt and introduced her to impressionist techniques, pastel and printmaking. He highly respected her as a fellow artist and felt she was the most like minded artist he had met. She then began to exhibit her work with the Impressionists.

Degas is perhaps best known for his paintings and pastels of ballet dancers, but he also painted other scenes of contemporary life in Paris including this casual portrait of his friend as they played a game of cards.

So as you can see this action of creating paintings talking and nourishing one another as painters is very common, it opens up a rare look at one painter through the eye of another.

I don’t know about you, but personally would love to own the painting by degas that he’s done of Mary Cassatt, or any one of the paintings mentioned in the list above.

With all that said I would like to introduce you to paintings I have done of other living painters and artists :

From the upper left to the bottom right

Sandra Smadja ,

Sandra Wallin (Sandy B),

Catherine Lafontan, Laura the young artist, Julian Merrow Smith, inspired by a photo of Thomas Eakins, Oleg Lissin, Georges Dumas, Laura Vahlberg, Osnat Oliva & Mariel manuel.

Some of the paintings were Prolonged, some were alla-prima paintings & some even sketches.

82 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page