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Oil on canvas .... 36"x18" - Martin F. Hennigan

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Comment by Resident Curator on February 22, 2015 at 8:34pm

Curators Comments:


The somewhat austere and veiled presentation of Phyrne bodes well with her historical ambiguity, and entrance into the consciousness of the viewer as seductress/impious beauty.  The dark shadow that falls across her face allows some anonymity, and universality of her features.  While her breasts are in higher definition and contrast, it is arguably the blood red cloak/drape that becomes the strongest element in the painting. Holding simultaneous connotations of love and sin, I see the portrait as a symbolic representation or archetypal figure.  From a color standpoint the pale pinkish hue in the background softens the economy of the space, but doesn’t share the depth of warm chiaroscuro or chromatic saturation.  The significant amount of empty space above her could also act to isolate her psychologically, and suggest vulnerability through sequestration.

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