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Madonna (Self-Portrait)
No size
Gelatin silver print
1975, reprinted by artist in 1997

For most of her career, Cindy Sherman turned the camera on herself, building a catalog of self-portraits that engage an array of clichéd female archetypes from the tearful innocent to the celebrity starlet. In this black-and-white portrait, Sherman plays the role of the Madonna. Although she is shrouded in a white veil like a classically rendered religious figure, Sherman’s elongated eye lashes, accentuated lips and pomaded dual horn-like curls peaking out from beneath her veil play with the traditional historic depiction. Her stylized image could be a reference to the “new woman” of the 1920s whose liberated views on sexuality are in direct opposition to the virginal, biblical Madonna. Reprinted in the 1990s, the portrait may also be considered a reference to the contemporary and controversial pop singer of the same name.