Lawrence of Arabi


Oil on canvas

50 x 40 x 2.5 cm

Youthful yet marked by a serious expression, the face of Lawrence of Arabia, pale and with sparkling blue eyes, gazes at us with a sad look. The observer could not be much distracted by the blue gaze: the oval of the face stands out on the white keffieh that takes up the rest of the canvas, offering the frontal view of a sad portrait.

The human condition and the cruelty of some destinies is one of the recurring themes in the work of Marlene Dumas. Her portraits express all the misery of lives that end without having attained their purpose. Here, the young T.E. Lawrence, played by actor Peter O’Toole in the film Lawrence of Arabia, already bears in his features the violence of the war and his identity doubts.

Marlene Dumas’ painting Lawrence of Arabia belongs to the Pinault Collection. The work was first shown at the “Prima Materia” (“Raw Material”) exhibition at the Punta della Dogana.