Allegorical Self-Portrait, 1867-1873

Not on Viewexpand_more

Solomon studied with the Pre-Raphaelite painters Rossetti and Burne-Jones, who were influenced by Italian art of the 15th century. Solomon's friendship with the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne diverted his interests from Old Testament subject matter to quasi-erotic, ancient Greek themes. In 1873, the date of this work, Solomon was arrested for a homosexual solicitation, and became a social outcast. He was completely abandoned by Swinburne and his friends in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. In this poignant self-portrait, Solomon recognizable by his mass of wavy hair, lowered eyelids, aquiline nose and sharp chin, represents himself as an androgynous, winged, figure clad only in a Greek chlamys, contemplating his tenuous future in a crystal ball beneath a starry sky. Appropriately, he clutches a branch of the plant Solomon's Seal in his left arm. In 1905, Solomon died of chronic alcoholism.

Allegorical Self-Portrait
Artist Life
1840 - 1905
Accession Number
[Hans M. Calmann, London, until 1968; sold June 10, for £250, to Mia].
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.