The very low angle from which the spectator observes the figure of the bather in the foreground exaggerates the proportions of the lower half of her body, as if we are seeing her reflection in a distorting mirror. The second nude on the right could also be the same figure seen from the back. This play of invisible mirrors shows the new sophistication of the paintings by the young Polish artist who was fascinated by the mirages of Modernism and their social and cultural apparitions: motorcars, cinema, fashion and all the hedonistic pleasures to which the liberated women of the Années Folles aspired. At the same time, the iridescence of the blue towel, the complexity of the pose of the left figure, the flash of red lipstick on a deliberately anonymous face and the artist’s manifest delight in arranging of the silhouettes according to the principle of linea serpentina also echo the Mannerist painting of the Italian Renaissance that Lempicka admired on her frequent visits to the Louvre. These effects attest to the great artistic cultivation of a painter who wanted to reveal the modern woman in a pictorial style steeped in the tradition of Bronzino and Rubens. One of her direct sources of inspiration could also have been Leonardo de Vinci’s Leda, housed in the Galerie Borghese.
The giant proportions of the bodies, here pushed to the extreme by Lempicka in keeping with all of her nudes from the late 1920s, emerged as one of the great trends in figurative art of the time period. “This approach was a trend of the time, a derivation of the sculptural woman Picasso had depicted in 1921. In 1925, the ‘Nudes’ presented at various salons all had the same Rubenesque exuberance of flesh, from Derain to Ottman, to mention the most frequently illustrated examples from numerous reviews. Lempicka’s nudes have a singularity that critics did not fail to notice: the distortion of perspective and rendering of complexions is remarkably well achieved” (Tamara de Lempicka, the Queen of Modern (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 160).
Deux nus en perspective is one of Lempicka’s first confirmed masterpieces, painted several months after her first personal exhibition at the Bottega di Poesia in Milan, a veritable springboard for a career that would soon bring her considerable fame.
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