A genre scene, executed in pastels and a black marker on a cardboard cover of a copybook, shows a half naked man supported on elbows, staring at an odd beast, bent over his loins and displaying distinctive female sexual features. The beast – a hybrid of a bully, wears a red ribbon at the end of a long lifted tail and is eating the man’s genitalia. Despite the drama of the situation, the scene has the character of a rococo fête champêtre of a melancholic mood. In turn, such distancing allows one to view it as a more general metaphor relating to the female – male relationships. The gouache’s black lines mould with precision the outlines of figures, darkening the head of the man and making the lurid menacing blotch a counterpoint for the distinctive redness of the ribbon. The eyes of the victim and his tormentor do not meet: the man agrees to his fate stoically, looking into the distance, whereas the bully does its ‘duty’ with an evident sadness and even disgust. [A. Markowska]


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