Pieter Bruegel the Elder was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes; he was a pioneer in making both types of subject the focus in large paintings.
This image of a young woman and her mirror reflection is riotous in color and chockablock with pattern. It is one of the last in a major series of canvases that Picasso created between 1931 and 1932. According to The Museum of Modern Art’s founding director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Picasso said he “preferred this painting to any of the others,” which speaks to the painting’s dazzling visual and thematic complexity. Its primary subject is the time-honored artistic theme of a woman before her mirror, reinvented in strikingly modern terms. The girl’s smoothly painted profile, in a delicately blushing pink-lavender, abuts a heavily built-up and garishly colored frontal view in yellow and red. Allusions to youth and old age, sun and moon, light and shadow are compressed into a single multivalent face.
In 1967, Warhol established a print-publishing business, Factory Additions, through which he published a series of screenprint portfolios on his signature subjects. Marilyn Monroe was the first one. He used the same publicity still of the actress that he had previously used for dozens of paintings. Each image here was printed from five screens: one that carried the photographic image and four for different areas of color, sometimes printed off-register. About repetitions Warhol said, “The more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel.”