Anna Lea Merritt Love Locked Out 1890

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Artwork details

Artist
Anna Lea Merritt 1844–1930
Title
Love Locked Out
Date 1890
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1156 x 641 mm
frame: 1450 x 930 x 110 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1890
Reference
N01578
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1840

Display caption

Cupid, the god of love, is shown here trying to force open the door of a mausoleum. Merrit made the picture in memory of her husband, who died  within three months of their marriage. Both Merrit and Cupid face the task of conquering death, which they are bound to fail.

The depiction of the male nude by a female artist was a contentious issue in the late-nineteenth-century art world. Merrit escaped censure by choosing to paint a child, rather than an adult. Children, she believed, were less conscious of nudity and had ‘no sense of shame before artists’.

July 2004

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