Jenny Saville and the Old Masters

Figurative artist Jenny Saville is perhaps best known for her enormous paintings and works on paper depicting graphic and visceral nudes. Saville consistently acknowledges the effect previous artists have had on her work, and when it comes to her works on paper, she is particularly careful to address their connection to Old Masters. “In these pieces, I'm trying to get simultaneous realities to exist in the same image,” she explained. “The contradiction of a drawing on top of a drawing replicates the slippage we have between the real world and the screen world. But it’s about the memory of picture, too. I’m directly referencing other artists: Manet, Titian, Picasso, Giorgione.” In 2012, Saville was invited to hang two works in the Renaissance gallery of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, a collection that contains, among other works, this painting by Titian. Although Saville was humble about the opportunity, she remained confident. "I was standing there the other day, and it's full of nude women all painted by men. I'm the first woman to show in the room, which is great, but it's also obscene,” she opined. "Actually, it's not even obscene. It's just… silly."