Lisa Lyon

A work made of gelatin silver print; edition 1/10.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print; edition 1/10.

Date:

1981

Artist:

Robert Mapplethorpe
American, 1946–1989

About this artwork

Robert Mapplethorpe produced a body of work ranging from sensual floral still lifes and celebrity portraiture to explicit images of sadomasochism. Yet even his erotic male nudes evoke a classical aesthetic, balancing contemporaneity against timeless form. In 1980 Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, who won the first World Women’s Bodybuilding Championship. Attracted to her muscular physique, which reminded him of Michelangelo’s rendering of the female figure, Mapplethorpe began a collaboration with her that culminated in the 1983 book Lady, Lisa Lyon. Depicting Lyon in nude, full-body portraits as well as a variety of character roles—society woman, dominatrix, mystic—this series celebrates ideals of female beauty from Antiquity and the Renaissance while simultaneously challenging stereotypical femininity today. Here, the framing of one flexed arm and a single breast suggests a double allegory of strength and sensuality.

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Photography

Artist

Robert Mapplethorpe

Title

Lisa Lyon

Origin

United States

Date

1981

Medium

Gelatin silver print; edition 1/10

Inscriptions

Inscribed recto, lower left, below image, in black ink: "1/10"; signed recto, lower right, below image, in black ink: "Robert Mapplethorpe"; verso unchecked

Dimensions

38.5 × 38.7 cm (image); 50.7 × 40.5 cm (paper)

Credit Line

Gift of Susan and Christopher Wilmarth

Reference Number

1984.514

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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