Van Gogh painted his first known self-portrait in 1886, following the model of Rembrandt. But by the time he made this work, a year later, he had clearly shifted his allegiance from the Old Masters to the Parisian avant-garde. Under the influence of Neo-Impressionist color theory, he based this painting on the contrast of complementary colors. The overall blue-green tone of the background serves as a foil to the orange-red of the artist's hair and beard. While the intensity of the colors is enhanced by the brushwork, the painting's energy and turbulence hint at the inner life of the artist. (http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/80607?search_no=3&index=16)
Van Gogh painted over 30 self portraits between 1886-89. He used portrait painting as a method of introspection, a method to make money and a method of developing his skills as an artist. http://blog.daum.net/kmozzart/1278
Van Gogh's self portraits in chronological order: http://www.wga.hu/html_m/g/gogh_van/16/ .