The themes prevalent in this painting are that of vanitas, and memento mori. This painting was begun when the exhibition of the 'Death and The Maiden' works, which ran from 20 July to 20 November 1974, had already been on show for more than two months. The female model, Belle Pecorini, was only an occasional visitor to Plymouth, though she appeared in a number of the smaller watercolours in the project. The vagrant Diogenes was becoming an increasingly important sitter and companion for the painter. By the end of the year, Lenkiewicz was at work on a project which became known as 'The Diogenes Con Show & The Masterpiece Museum'. It took a wry look at the commercialism of art and largely consisted of paintings of the vagrant with titles such as 'This Study Took 4 Minutes'. The metaphor of the empty chair, standing for absence or loss, again appears, as it did in the painting 'Mouse With Wool', but this time with the traditional memento mori object of the skull with a vanitas still life of a plastic tea cup, countless numbers of which passed from nearby Joe Prete’s Café to the painter’s studio down the years. The café still has a well-preserved mural by Lenkiewicz ironically based on da Vinci’s painting of 'The Last Supper'.
Where to see this painting?
The Lenkiewicz Foundation
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