Before the Selfie

Modesty was not on the mind of Francesco de Mura, though in fairness there wasn’t much to go around in the circles he moved in. He was a court artist, one of the most successful in southern Italy, a favorite of the Bourbon King Charles VII. 

In this portrait, he made sure you knew it, from the expensive fabrics and furniture to his drawing of Minerva, Roman protector of the arts. Today, however, he is little remembered—the Salieri to Mozart. In fact, the first-ever exhibition of his work in modern times is only now making the rounds, due to arrive in Minneapolis this fall. He has a lot to live up to. —Tim Gihring, editor, May 25


Image: Francesco de Mura’s The Visitation, c. 1750.

“Before the Selfie” highlights the popularity of the self-portrait in Mia’s collection before 2000. To see self-portraits by contemporary artists, visit “Beyond the Selfie” in Gallery 368, May 14–October 30.