Paula Rego

I recently had a lecture about the artworks of Paula Rego. At the time of Paula Rego artists who were popular were Hans Bellmer and Balthus. Bothe artists looked at sexual images of girls. Balthus uses the subject of young girls and gives then submissive roles, creating scenes for these pubescent girls to be sexually owned and can be touched by men. He places these girls in seductive poses and in most of his paintings he displays the power the man has over these girls. Paula Rego challenged this with her art.

Paula Rego Challenges Balthus showing girls are self possessed, they are not objects yet they have child like faces and bodies of grown women. with her work there is really a sense of the narrative and showing the heirarchy toppling and reversing from domestic to empowering and in charge.

Her painting called “The Family” is in reference to her husband when ne was unwell and how the family looked after him. He looks like he is a play thing for the family. On the wardrobe there is a symbol of a stock and a fox fighting showing a dominance and power. To me this piece has something quite disturbing, that the girl taking the trousers off him is sexually standing close to him. Also not being able to see his face creates a dominance in the women..


The piece called “The Policeman’s Daughter”is of a girl polishing her father’s police boots. This piece is said to be a comment about political oppression. This narrative makes me question in what type of relationship she has to her father. Does she like her father and is doing it to gain his affection or is she just a very obedient girl. Some people question if the boot is a phallic symbol. Either way I am disturbed and also intregred about her work.


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