Artists have been preoccupied with the human image since antiquity: under the title ‘Self & Portrait’, the new CLOSE UP is dedicated to an examination of the perception of the self in art. Four works by Maria Lassnig (1919–2014), Francis Bacon (1909–1992), Jonathan Meese (b. 1970), and Gabriele Stötzer (b. 1953) from the collection of the Städel Museum show how artistically diverse the preoccupation with the self can be. With sensitivity, playfulness, and abstraction, they explore the question of who or what the self actually is. Between an inside and outside view, artistic skills, external features, and the underlying selfimage become visible to the viewer in the (self-) portrait. The works of art on display focus on the exploration of the self, the analysis of social role models, and the sounding out of the artistic representability of the self. The artists selected represent different positions in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. CLOSE UP is exactly that – a closer take on a core theme in the Städel’s collection of contemporary art, as an on-site art and mediation space and as a digital application. In the museum, CLOSE UP offers greater access and opportunities for in-depth research with a concentrated selection of works and relies on the interplay of original works of art, wall texts, and a digital application. Through various research possibilities, visitors can engage intensively and interactively with the theme of ‘Self & Portrait’ and thereby develop their visual skills and information literacy.

‘“Me, Myself, and I” – in the new presentation of CLOSE UP, we focus on the artistic exploration of the self. Who am I? What do I want? How do I present myself to others? Presenting oneself in the right light is ubiquitous through social media, yet it is not a phenomenon that only emerged in the twenty-first century, not even in art. The works of the selected artists impressively show how artistically diverse the preoccupation with one’s own self-image can be. With the digital application and further possibilities for in-depth research, visitors can use CLOSE UP to independently explore broader contexts and discover interesting facts,’ explain the two project managers Anne Dribbisch (Education and Mediation) and Maja Lisewski (Collection of Contemporary Art).

Project management and concept: Anne Dribbisch (Städel Museum, Research Assistant, Education and Mediation) and Maja Lisewski (Städel Museum, Curatorial Assistant, Contemporary Art)
Digital support: Alexandra Reißer (Städel Museum, Project Manager, Digital Culture)
URL of the digital application:

You can download the complete press release as a PDF here.

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