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Mark Tansey
Interception
1996
oil
71 1/4 x 108 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by the American Art Forum



This image recalls an eighteenth-century painting illustrating an ancient legend about the origins of art. According to the Greeks, art was invented when a young woman made the first figurative image by tracing the silhouette of her lover on a wall. Mark Tansey's use of the story reminds us that art is rooted in human emotion and desire.