Melisa Calabria on Studying with Ricardo Celma, Odd Nerdrum and Painting Narrative Self-Portraits | The Cave of Apelles

The Argentinian painter Melisa Calabria sits down to explain the importance of painting self-portraits. Beyond supplying a free and patient model, Calabria perceives self-portraits as an “excuse” that allows you to depict archetypal situations. Instead of indicating egocentrism, she sees this genre as an opportunity to discover the eternal in all your models.

00:50 Introducing the guest
01:26 The self-portrait: does it have to look like yourself?
03:59 Workshops in Argentina and studying with Ricardo Celma
09:38 Painting self-portraits at the Nerdrum Studio
13:49 Archetypal imagery and using from your own experience
20:30 Getting the likeness is like learning to ride a bicycle
24:03 Rembrandt and the three levels of the self-portrait
32:40 Using yourself as a model to tell a story
35:16 Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait as Zeuxis Laughing
41:05 The absurdity of being a court painter in modern times
42:08 Nature is the universal language
43:29 How much can you deviate from the likeness?
46:59 Selecting a focus to emphasize the story
52:19 Rembrandt’s development as a painter
54:25 Who you are, what you want, and where you want to be

The conversation was produced by Bork S. Nerdrum and assisted by Alastair Blain.
The centerpiece was a self-portrait by Melisa Calabria.


Børge Moe
Matthias Proy
Shaun Roberts
Viorel Trandafir
Dean Anthony
Fergus Ryan
Alastair Blain
Anders Berge Christensen
Jon Harald Aspheim
Erik Lasky
Fernando Ramirez
Herman Borge
Hårek Jordal Andreassen
Iver Ukkestad
Jack Entz Warner
Jared Fountain
Jose Luis
Marion Bu-Pedersen
Maurice Robbins
Michael Irish
Stacey Evangelista
Tonelise Rugaas
Trym Jordahl
Villiam S-ian
Yngve Hellan

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  • Apelles was asked why he touched and retouched his pictures with so much care, to which he replied:
    "I paint for eternity"