Marcel Duchamp, 'The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)' 1915-23, reconstruction by Richard Hamilton 1965-6, lower panel remade 1985

Marcel Duchamp
The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) 1915-23, reconstruction by Richard Hamilton 1965-6, lower panel remade 1985
Oil, lead, dust and varnish on glass
object: 2775 x 1759 mm
Presented by William N. Copley through the American Federation of Arts 1975© Richard Hamilton and Succession Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

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This room examines Duchamp’s innovative use of glass as a medium, and, in particular, his major composition, The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass).

This complex piece married spoof physics with a saga of sexual attraction between a ‘bride’ in the upper pane and nine ‘bachelors’ (hidden in ‘moulds’) below. Duchamp used glass so that the imagery seemed suspended in space and time: he called it a ‘delay in glass’. As some areas are blank, a view of the work also incorporates whatever is behind it. The painting is a ‘window onto the world’ but, in this case, the real world of the viewer rather than a scene depicted by the artist.

Duchamp’s friends were aware of the formal and conceptual novelty of the Large Glass, and were influenced by it in different ways. Transparency and opacity later became major themes in Man Ray’s photographs and Picabia’s paintings.