One of Australia's finest draughtsmen and print makers, Creswick
born Lionel Lindsay believed that drawing was the basis of fine
art, and he was opposed to the tendencies of modernist art which he
saw as devaluing this basic skill.
It was an interest in astronomy, not art, that first took
Lindsay to Melbourne in 1889 where he had secured a position at the
Melbourne Observatory. However, he continued to draw, and his
artistic pursuits gradually overtook astronomy as he spent many
evenings in the Melbourne Library making pencil sketches of
engravings of paintings of Italian Masters and studying Charles
Keene's drawings in Punch.
In 1893 Lindsay became employed as an illustrator for the Hawk
and commenced drawing classes at the National Gallery School,
Melbourne. Created before his trip to Europe in the early 1900s,
this striking self-portrait with its strong sense of line and
structure combines a sense of realism and directness.