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The Magdalena portraits relate to a series of paintings that Dumas exhibited in Venice in 1995. In these earlier works, the artist combined images of the model Naomi Campbell taken from fashion photographs, with Flemish depictions of the repentant Mary Magdalen, her naked body concealed beneath long hair. The fusion of such strongly contrasting imagery is a significant aspect of Dumas' working process. 'I use religious subjects as I use fairy-tale figures, in order to give my audience an easy starting point, a popular reference that relates to all times and that is familiar to most people', Dumas has explained.

August 2004