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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Picasso Ingres: Face to Face

National Gallery / London / Art

When Picasso painted Woman with a Book (1932), he was thinking about Ingres’s portrait of a beauty in floral silk, Madame Moitessier (1856). Picasso encountered the painting in 1921 at a show in Paris, and in the 10 years that followed he referred to the Ingres portrait constantly. When he finally painted his own version of it, his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter posed as Moitessier. This exhibition places Picasso’s work side by side with Ingres’s. Both women rest their head against their right hand. But while Moitessier looks directly at the viewer, relaxed, Walter’s gaze is inward, her body language closed. What was Picasso saying? —E.C.

National Gallery Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN, UK
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