Here, naked, alone, gazing skyward toward an unknown focus, de Kooning portrays himself holding what appears to be a paintbrush in one hand, while the other grasps his chest in an impassioned gesture mixing angst and exasperation. He is surrounded, almost enveloped by deep greens and ochres which at once recall the majestic landscapes of his beloved Hamptons, while simultaneously representing the abstract shapes which were a hallmark of his work at the time. Reminiscent of subjects such as St. John in the Wilderness , St. Francis in Ecstasy, and the Temptation of Christ, de Kooning creates a composition that, similar to his entire oeuvre, balances tradition with progress.
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