Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987)
Instant color print
24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm)
Purchase, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Gift, Joyce and Robert Menschel Gift and Rogers Fund, 1995 (1995.251)
Much of Warhol's work can be read as a meditation on the transience of life, from his iconic portrayals of a stoically suffering Jacqueline Kennedy to his paintings of skulls from the mid-1970s. With eyes closed and an unearthly pallor, the artist appears here as a martyred saint, suspended between the agonies of the flesh and the blinding white light of the afterlife. Stripped of the guile of many of his self-portraits, this riveting picture seems both to refer back to the attempt made on his life in 1968 and to chillingly prefigure his untimely death.