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Literature often provided inspiration for Hockney's early work. In the summer of 1960, the artist discovered the homoerotic poetry of the modern Greek poet CP Cavafy. Hockney made several works based on Cavafy's imagery, culminating in the series Fourteen Illustrations for Poems from CP Cavafy (1966), which is also in the Collection. This etching is based on Cavafy's poems Alexandrian Kings and Kaisarion, which describe Kaisarion, the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Here Kaisarion stands on a cloaked figure who may be the artist himself, next to whom is a stylised Egyptian portrait of Hockney's mother.

August 2004