Anna Zinkeisen by Anna Katrina Zinkeisen, circa 1944 © National Portrait Gallery, London
This portrait is on display in Room 5884.
I’ve always admired Anna Katrina Zinkeisen’s self-portrait. Self-portraits are particularly fascinating – one often feels a bit of a voyeur as if we’ve caught the artist at a private moment studying herself in the bathroom mirror. Here, Zinkeisen is ready to be discovered – she’s smartly dressed for the occasion, and holds her brushes in her hand. During the Second World War she was a medical artist, painting wounds for the Royal College of surgeons, a task that must have required a steady hand and a steadier stomach. I think that unflinching gaze reveals a woman capable of such things but I also love the bold flash of red at her cuff and collar and dabbed on her unsmiling mouth. I imagine the character of Juliet Montague to be a similarly audacious woman – able to negotiate her way through the ‘60s art scene, an outsider but with a dash of red lipstick.