Surimpression—Madonne is a dynamic representation of the Virgin Mary. Radically depicted, May is is layered with a pared-down sinuous figure with luscious red lips and hypnotic yet sympathetic eyes. The layered image suggests the complexity of Mary’s femininity and her biblical role at large, a question first explored during the Italian Renaissance. In discussing Picabia’s re-interpretation of the art of the Old Masters, critics have compared his paintings to those of Pablo Picasso, often incorrectly characterizing Picabia as Picasso’s follower. Maria-Lluïsa Borràs, however, argues that it was Picabia who pioneered this style, stating “Picabia was in fact anticipating by over fifteen years the Picasso who was to take as his theme works by Cranach, Altdorfer, Poussin and Courbet—or the Picasso of the fifties who, before the adoring eyes of the specialists, was to transform the works of El Greco, Delacroix, Velázquez and even Manet in ways not fundamentally different from that used by Picabia in the twenties” (Maria-Lluïsa Borràs, Picabia, New York, 1985, p. 292; see fig. 1).
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