- Charnley, Bryan, (1949-1991)
- 23 April 1991
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)
You can use this work for any purpose, as long as it is not primarily intended for or directed to commercial advantage or monetary compensation. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) terms and conditions https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0
Selected images from this work
About this work
Also known as
Outline of a head with crosses representing the eyes and mouth surrounded by multiple paint marks in blue, green, orange and yellow. The text in the painting reads LOVE HURTS.
23 April 1991.
1 painting : oil on canvas ; 50.6 x 50.8 cm
Charnley's diary entry reads: "I was completely unable to concentrate so the painting takes on the crudeness of bad graffiti... I had come to the conclusion that most of the people around me had some sort of extra sensory perception ability which gave them access to my mind. In this respect I was like a blind man. Hence the crosses on the eyes. They also let me know verbally what they had picked up from my thoughts. I was like a dumb man in this respect and hence the cross over the mouth. The crossed out dates are because I was becoming obsessed that I had taken two sittings rather than one on the first self-portrait."
Bryan Charnley (1949-1991) was a British artist whose work illustrates his experiences of schizophrenia. In 1969 he enrolled on a BA in sculpture at the Central School of Art and Design, but left due to a breakdown. He started painting in 1978, and from the late 1980s he began to get recognition for his work, with Bethlem Royal Hospital purchasing four of his paintings. From 1987 to his death he kept a dream diary as a way of understanding his own mind. In March 1991 he decided to experiment with his medication and embarked on a series of self-portraits, a series which exposed his mental illness. The series was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 1995. He took his own life in July 1991.
Bryan Charnley. 1991. 3rd self-portrait. [Oil on canvas]. Wellcome Collection: Library no. 3049689i
Charnley, J. (2018). Bryan Charnley: art and adversity, page 174.
Exhibited in ‘Bryan Charnley self-portraits: face to face with schizophrenia’ at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 21 July – 3 December 1995.
Title provided by the Estate of Bryan Charnley.
Dated 23/4/91 on recto. Numbered 3 on verso.