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Image of Narcissus

Duane Michals , b. Feb 18, 1932


5 in. x 7 in. (12.7 cm x 17.78 cm) each

Medium and Support: five gelatin silver prints
Credit Line: purchased as the gift of Louis Wiley, Jr. (PA 1963) and John Clarke Kane, Jr. (PA 1963) in memory of Paul L. Monette (PA 1963) on the occasion of their 50th Reunion, with additional support from the Monette-Horwitz Trust
Accession Number: 2010.100a-e


Gallery label for One Thing Leads to Another... Selections from the Collection, January 30 - March 20, 2016

Classical in his sculpturally formed body and tousled long hair, the model in Duane Michals’s series reenacts the myth of Narcissus, the ancient Greek demigod who, against the warnings of the gods, fell in love with his own reflection. The fatal event is narrated through the first four frames of the piece, while in the last image the tragic character attempts to break the invisible divide between reality and reflection, the mortal and the divine. From European Old Master painters, such as Caravaggio, to modern artists like Salvador Dalí, the myth of Narcissus has captured artists’ imagination since antiquity. Unlike previous, painted depictions of the subject, however, Michals’s serial work takes full advantage of the photographic medium to capture the narrative arc of a theatrical act dealing with themes of love, loss, and (im)mortality.

Kelley Tialiou
Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Assistant | Librarian | Archivist

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

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