No, I am not going to talk about Caravaggio painting “Narcissus” even though I like it very much. The question that interests me is if an artist has to be narcissistic. Is it love for art or the thirst for recognition that drives artists to create? Would you feel satisfied if your art becomes popular and you stay in shadow? Most probably not. One thing is certain – all artists are narcissistic in some way. Remember the story of an American artist, Margaret Kean whose paintings of children and women with big eyes became popular thanks to her then husband Walter Kean. Even though she agreed to sign her paintings with his name, she wasn’t happy about it when her paintings started to sell like hot cakes.
There are two major types of narcissists: extraverted (or grandiose) and introverted (or vulnerable) narcissists. The first type is very flamboyant. You spot him as soon as he enters the room. He is loud, attention-seeking and represents an integral part of his own art. When you say Dali, you think about an extravagantly dressed man with big bulging eyes.
Introverted narcissists, on the contrary, seem to be shy and quiet, but have a strong sense of entitlement. They are sensitive, easily hurt and threatened. This category includes a greater number of artists. There are even those artists that people never saw for some reasons.
In the era of internet the social media platforms have become an efficient way of artist promotion. The question is if it has to be personal or be purely about art. Do artists have to post selfies and share their personal life or speak about their art only? It’s up to you to decide and this actually shows the kind of narcissist you are. If you don’t know it yet, I recommend you take this test to find out.