One of Robert Mapplethorpe’s iconic flower studies, Untitled (Blue Calla Lily) is a prime example of the artist’s later studio work before his untimely death in 1989. Not unlike other works in his oeuvre, which range dramatically in subject matter from flowers to members of the S&M underground, Mapplethorpe pays close attention to the calla lily’s formal qualities to capture beauty in every one of its details. Given the size and sparseness of the photograph, these details are then monumentalized and even eroticized by the calla lily’s noticeably phallic pistils. They are further enhanced by photogravure’s exceptional ability to reproduce the flower's tonal variety and texture.
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