Self-Portrait

Johannes Võerahansu Self-Portrait 1953 oil, canvas 65 × 50 cm

Johannes Võerahansu has been one of the most remarkable creators of self-portraits in the history of Estonian art. He had already completed many of them by 1953 as well, thus shaping a Võerahansu-like style of self-depiction: a tranquil, non-theatricalised expression looking directly at the viewer, his body posture unperturbed and self-assured, and attributes indicative of his occupation as an artist or everyday objects all around him. These were self-portraits that constructed an image for the viewer more of a familiar person who is together with us in everyday life rather than an exceptional artist: of someone, the source of whose works is in the living conditions of everyday life, of which he considers himself to be a part. The year in which the work was completed also gives this self-portrait a faint political dimension in retrospect: in the whirl of historical events (Stalin died in that same year), Võerahansu’s non-dramatic self-portrait comes across as a gesture that summons us back from politics to the ordinary arrangement of things.