Self-portraits have been made by artists for centuries, but it was not until the mid-1400s, when better quality mirrors became more available, that artists regularly began depicting themselves as the main subjects in their works. Because in them the artist is also the subject, self-portraits highlight the classic conflict between the artist's desire to produce an accurate representation of the subject and his desire to idealize him. Who are some of the most prolific self-portraitists?
Miguel de Cervantes
Back in the day
Before the issuance of the Penny Black—the first adhesive stamp to indicate prepayment of postage—letters were commonly paid for by their recipients. Part of an effort to reform the antiquated British postal system, the stamp featured a profile of Queen Victoria. Because its dark background made cancellation marks hard to see and made reusing stamps quite easy, it was soon redesigned. To this day, all British stamps bear a profile of the reigning monarch and are the only stamps not to list what?
Born on a day like today
Considered one of the founders of neuroscience, Ramón y Cajal was a Spanish histologist, physician, and Nobel laureate. He devised a method of staining nerve tissue that allowed him to study the structure of the nervous system and make many important discoveries. In 1906, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Camillo Golgi. Though he was a highly respected researcher in his adult years, he often got into trouble as a child and was imprisoned at the age of 11 for doing what?