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Widely known for his portraits of artists, dancers and musicians as well as scenes of the New York underground and high society, Mapplethorpe is also acclaimed for his close-ups of the anatomy of flowers. In this image, a stem extends across a dense black background with the profile of a white lily on the end. Spotted with darker markings, the lily is open, and the inside is flooded with light enhancing the transparency of its petals. This type of classically aesthetic and beautifully stylized still life was prevalent in Mapplethorpe?s oeuvre throughout the 1980s.

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