Nineteen sixty-two was a very fruitful year for Berni. It witnessed not only copious production but also the beginning of his extended series on the character of Ramona Montiel— all that while the artist traveled frequently between Buenos Aires and Europe as his work was gaining acclaim. That same year, he was awarded the International Grand Prize in Printmaking and Drawing at the XXXI Venice Biennale for his works on the Juanito Laguna character. "La gran tentación", an assemblage, was also produced in 1962, most likely at
the artist’s studio in Buenos Aires. While the title does not mention Ramona by name, the aesthetic, technique, and theme are clearly tied to the imaginary surrounding her: life on the poor outskirts of large Latin American cities, poverty, and marginalization in contrast to fantasies of prosperity and upward mobility. In the lower portion of the painting, a portion brimming with industrial waste, an aging prostitute is surrounded by men and a dog, her body made up of por- traits of men’s faces. A carefully painted im- age of a young blond holding in her hands an impeccable blue car, symbol of wealth and comfort, takes up the entire upper lefthand section of the canvas.


  • Title: The Great Temptation
  • Creator: Antonio Berni
  • Date Created: 1962
  • Physical Dimensions: 96.6 x 95 in
  • Provenance: Malba Collection
  • Medium: Oil, wood, burlap, tarp, paper, cardboard, glass, leather, and metals; plastic change purse, scouring pad, feathers, sequins, printed images, nails, and staples on plywood

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