The Artist’s Mirror: Self Portraits

Banner: The Artist’s Mirror: Self Portraits. March 10, 2018 to January 6, 2019. Glenbow, Calgary, Alberta 

Exhibition: Library and Archives Canada in partnership with the Glenbow

The Artist’s Mirror: Self Portraits

Artists have always been compelled to represent their own likeness, but not until the early Renaissance in the mid-1500s in Europe did artists begin to frequently depict themselves as the primary subject in their work. This surge in self-representation can be attributed, in part, to higher-quality and more readily available mirrors. With the reflections and refractions of the artist’s mirror, the creator became the subject.

In this exhibition, featuring self-portraits from the collections of Library and Archives Canada and Glenbow, the legacy of the artist’s mirror lives on. Here artists are looking deeply at themselves, a practice reflected across a wide variety of media, artistic styles and time periods. From biographical self-expression to political commentary, the motivation behind creating a self-portrait is as diverse as the artists themselves.

For more information about the exhibition and its opening hours, visit

Canada’s Portraits at Glenbow

Library and Archives Canada is home to many of our country’s most important portraits. These historical and modernist works provide a unique visual history of Canada, interpreted on a human scale, through the faces of individuals, known or unknown, who have shaped and who continue to shape the history and culture of the nation.

As part of a multi-year collaboration with Library and Archives Canada, Glenbow will host a series of five portrait-themed exhibitions drawn from the collection of Library and Archives Canada; in some cases, portraits from Glenbow’s collection will augment the exhibitions.


Self-Portrait, Emily Carr, ca.1899
Library and Archives Canada / e006078795
Self-Portrait, Yousuf Karsh, ca.1956
Library and Archives Canada / e008441761
James Hill, Self-Portrait as a Snail, 1979
Library and Archives Canada / c151789k
Autoportrait au Rideau
Raymonde April, 1991
Library and Archives Canada / e008438965
Self-Portrait, Floyd Kuptana, 2007
Library and Archives Canada / e010751990
Self-Portrait, Alma Duncan, 1978
Library and Archives Canada / e011083727
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