Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia


Oil on canvas

80 x 70 x 3 cm

The face of Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia appears defeated, neglected. An overgrown beard covers nose and mouth in its dark mass that invades the entire jaw. The man’s eye sockets are sunk-in, and his tired eyes have lost their familiar blue sparkle. Are we looking at an oil on canvas representation of the historic figure or at the actor himself?

The sad humanity that emerges from this painting is the terrible reflection of one of Marlene Dumas’ favourite subjects, the human condition. Very often, her works depict lives that end without having reached their purpose, as here the character of T.E. Lawrence, played by actor Peter O’Toole in the famous film entitled Lawrence of Arabia.

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