Larry Rivers’ A Vanished World: Gilbert and Garbo 1 (1994)
In Larry Rivers' copy of a still from the 1926 film Flesh and the Devil (starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert) he has used the act of kissing to symbolize the act of painting. Indeed even the title of the film suggests two levels of reality: Gilbert as the Devil on one level; Garbo as Flesh on the other. Many artists over the centuries have identified with the devil, as Rivers does here. He is the Devil kissing/creating his painting of the ultimate beauty, Greta Garbo, using love as a creative force.
How do we know? Rivers took care to alter Gilbert's profile and where he did so it now matches his own. Compare Gilberts nose in the original film still (far left) to Rivers' copy of it (center) and a photo of his own proboscis (near left.) The nostril is lengthened to match his own and the line of the nose becomes curved for the same reason.
See conclusion below
More Works by Rivers
An obvious example of how later artists can see in an artist's work what we, ordinary viewers, do not.
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