Selfies of the Golden Age
Today self-portraits are extremely popular, partly thanks to the modern 'selfie'. Everyone can make a self-portrait using a smartphone, and then quickly share it with friends and acquaintances. This means that millions of people actually often think about how they want to present themselves to others.
Seventeenth-century self-portraits, might seem to encourage comparisons with the modern selfie, but there are many differences. Whereas the modern selfie can be taken easily, sometimes even carelessly, painting a self-portrait in the seventeenth century required a long training and considerable craftsmanship.
Artists expended considerable effort on their self-portraits. They are portraits painted with considerable skill, in which the painter showed how he or she wanted to appear to the world. A self-portrait could also serve as an example of the painter's specific abilities, not only his or her talent in achieving an accurate resemblance, but also of the skills required, for instance in the field of representing fabric. The self-portrait was, as it were, a business card for the painter.