Now, we will go to our third example, Picasso’s Girl Before Mirror, 1932. The girl is on the left of the composition while her mirror reflection is at the right. Though painted less than 60 years after Renoir’s, this body is much harder to recognize. Are there two arms? What about the dividing line down her face? Is her dress striped? What is the reference for the circles around her stomach? Additionally, what we see at the left, does not match up with what is seen within the mirror. What type of room is this? Why doesn’t she see herself as she is? Why doesn’t the artist see her as she is? The bodies are not organically put together. The coloration is faulty. The bodies are shaded incorrectly. This girl was reduced into shapes, abstracted forms.


Clearly, Ingres, Renoir, and Picasso represented these women differently, suggesting  a multiplicty in artists’ outlooks, attitudes towards their models, and cultural influences.  While the three paintings may be considered “masterpieces” by contemporary museum culture, they suggest the variety of objects and creative impulses that we will be studying during this course.