to ring the doorbell with elegance, using only one of her petite fingers. Her feet walk upon a floor patterned with multi-colored bricks all adhering to the neutral browns throughout the rest of the painting. She looks directly out toward the viewer, as though catching a glimpse of who is watching her. Her most notable feature is the nose that protrudes from her small face with a pointed tip. The length of her nose has the effect of contrasting with her extremely tiny waist which could be an indication of previous body modification. Her face is covered in a sheer veil that turns her brown hair into an ashy grey. It hangs over the length of her nose, curving in loops at the bottom. Varo’s use of the veil initially came from her fascination with North African women’s traditional Muslim veiled attire with only their eyes visible. The veil becomes the most 12 humorous aspect of the painting, and according to Kaplan serves “as a diaphanous shield for the lengthy proboscis of a woman who surreptitiously rings the bell of a clinic in search of surgical help.” The fabric of her dress has a similar delicate quality as she moves and the curled folds 13 of her dress flare up from her ankles in loops. Her dress, like the veil appears as if it would be light to hold and smooth to the touch. It is sheer and has a silky quality and draws the eye to its texture and movement. The dress is flowing and loose at the bottom, however, seems to cinch at the waist as though accentuating her hips and capturing her within the aspect of herself that would be seen as acceptable to society, exposing her dainty frame. This central figure is portrayed as slight of frame with thin legs and small feet, so pondering the title is what draws one to possibly consider alterations in body frame as the title suggests. As she steps into the 12 Kaplan, Remedios Varo , 185. 13 Kaplan, Remedios Varo , 185.
Manwiller 8 doorway, her black stiletto boots fall into the darkness and her right foot begins to blend in with the shadow. Her beautiful form is emphasized because of the absurdity of her long nose, making it appear vastly out of proportion in comparison. On her left, there is a figure enclosed within a display case, exhibiting one of the surgeons creations: a beautiful woman with multiple breasts known as Diana of Ephesus. Diana of Ephesus is pertinent to understanding the humor of this particular creation of Varo’s. Elizabeth F. Hart, author of Studies in English Literature comments on Diana’s affirmation of her identity as a multiple goddess and insists on her proper name as “Queen Isis”: “‘I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of the powers divine, queen of heaven, the principal of the gods celestial, the light of the goddesses. At my will the planets of the air, the wholesome winds of the seas and the silences of hell be disposed.’ ” 14 15 Diana is some kind of nature deity which affirms the satirical element of irony in this painting.
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- Spring '18
- Susan Aberth
- Research Paper, visit, Remedios Varo, Varo, Janet A. Remedios Varo, Janet A. Kaplan