Today the artistic genre of the self-portrait is one of the most consolidated, the new digital and technological forms have revolutionized a genre that is as old as painting itself. Throughout history all painters have left us some self-portrait, but as a complete work as part of a drawing or sketch, many considered the idea of playing with their own portrait to carry out studies or try new techniques being their own. model. Authors such as Velázquez, Rembrandt, Goya or even later such as Van Gogh and Renoir, have bequeathed us pictorial jewels in which they left their image engraved for posterity, however there is a self-portrait that has gone down in history for configuring the image of the humanist man to this day,this is the self-portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci that we analyze here.
It seems that the work was made by the artist in the first decade of the 16th century, around year 1516, it is a drawing made with red chalk on a ocher colored paper that the artist used in a drawing book and that was extremely delicate. It is a drawing of small dimensions and vertical format that is barely about thirty-three centimeters high and about twenty-three centimeters high. In the composition we cannot appreciate the full-length drawing, it is only the outline of itsface that does not even appear complete but in which Leonardo paid special attention not only to convey some of his physical features but also the image that he himself wanted to give of himself, that of a humanist man dedicated to the study of science.
Leonardo appears represented as a mature man, in his features the wrinkles typical of age and a gesture of concentration that seems to obey the multiple ideas that haunted his thoughts, as if he were busy in solving a problem. He appears with beards and long hair indicating his unconcern for physical appearance whilelikening him to the thinkers of the classical world
On Leonardo's death the drawing passed into the hands of his closest collaborator, Francesco Melzi who took care of safeguarding the notes and drawings of the Italian genius, after the death of Melzi's work was inherited by his relatives until he lost track of it and reappeared in the city of Milan at the beginning of the 19th century. What happened to the drawing during those years still seems unclear, but the truth is that in 1840 a well-known collector of the time found it and sold it to the House of Savoy who donated it to the Turin Museum where it has remained until today.