Early Pictures in Different Cultural Contexts – The Picture Archive of Gilles Porte

Portrait – Selfportrait

Gilles Porte

Digital Reedition by
Dieter Maurer  Birute Gujer

Text by Dieter Maurer


Since 2005, from all over the world, Gilles Porte is documenting drawings of the human figure, created by children in their first years of life in terms of selfportraits. For a part of the children, he also has taken their portraits (photographs). In this way, diptychs were formed of portraits and selfportraits. For another part of the children, he has also filmed the drawing process.

Hitherto, Gilles Porte holds a picture archive of more than 4 000 drawings and a film archive of more than 600 film recordings. These two archives document more than 4 000 children of 38 countries of six continents.

With regard to his documentary, aesthetic and artistic motives, and in the form of selections and compilations, he has published a book, 80 short films (including animations), a full-length film and a double DVD (for details, see chapter 1-3).

However, beyond such artistic value, his archives are also of scientific value and interest. Therefore, we intend to reprocess the archives step by step. Such reeditions will allow for a subsequent investigation of differences and similarities of the early human figure drawing, taking into consideration the very different life conditions of the children documented. Moreover, the reeditions will allow for a public access to the entire archives of Gilles Porte.

The present archive, as the first version of the reedition of the picture archive, consists of the main part of diptychs. Further versions will follow and will be assigned as such (for details of the procedure, see chapter 1-11 in the book).

First steps

For the texts, go to the book and open the Table of Contents. For the pictures, go to the picture archive, accept the licence, and open the Archive Structure. Look at the Categories and click on + to open the list of countries Then click on a country name to display the corresponding pictures. Please refer to the Assistant in the menu for any further help you need.

Licence - Terms of Use

Images, film documents and texts of the present publication are freely available but only and exclusively for private viewing and reading and exclusively in the form of projections for training and research purposes at publicly recognized teaching and research institutes. – Images, film documents and texts must not be taken out of the context of the present publication and introduced into other contexts. Images, film documents and texts must not be manipulated in any way prior to projection. – All other kinds of presentation, projection, copying, storage, reproduction or any other types of use or publication of images, film documents and texts in full or even only as excerpts or in any form whatsoever are strictly prohibited without the separate permission in writing of the authors, including translations and radio, television and internet adaptations. – Images, film documents and texts may only be used for the discussion of the pictorial and esthetic development as such and for the discussion of references to general developmental psychology. Any interpretations beyond this, in particular individual psychological or psychoanalytical interpretations are prohibited. The contextual information required for such interpretations is either not included in the publication or has been anonymized. Individual psychological or psychoanalytical interpretations would thus violate deontological rules.


2012 Gilles Porte for all pictures and drawings presented.
2012 Dieter Maurer for all texts and for the form of presentation of the picture archive.

Portal "Early Pictures"

For a description of our scientific projects concerning early graphic expressions of children, for a list of related publications and for a direct access to other archives of pictures  and films, including related electronic books, please refer to our homepage:

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