Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn Diptych)- Third Most Influential Work of Modern Art


Andy Warhol no doubt has a strong influence on the modern art movement as his works have become some of the classic definitions of what modern art stands for.  His 100 Soup Cans or Marilyn Diptych have taken an iconic place in art history, being easily identifiable as a Warhol piece by even the most casual of observers.  Some pieces, however, have placed more influence on modern art than any of the others and out of all of these, Marilyn Diptych perhaps more than any other.  In 2004, this Warhol piece was named the third most influential work of modern art in a survey conducted between 500 artists and art critics.

The piece was constructed in the four months following Marilyn Monroe’s untimely suicide in August of 1962.  Upon hearing the news of the star’s passing, Andy Warhol began to construct a work of art in dedication to her, which some have come to believe represents the mortality of her glamorous life.  50 images of the actress, all the same, were used in the construction of this piece in a grid of 5 rows and 10 columns.  The single image used was taken from a publicity photograph of Marilyn Monroe from the 1953 film Niagara.  The 25 images on the left hand side of the artwork are all in startling color, dramatized for a loud effect.  The 25 images on the left hand side of the piece are all in black and white, providing a stark contrast to the bright colors of the other side.

It has been postulated that Andy Warhol wanted to touch both upon the frailness of human life and the presence that celebrity can have in the everyday life.  Marilyn Monroe, by and large, was a household name and the repetitiveness of her image in Marilyn Diptych reinforces the fact that everyone knows who she was.  The color scheme reminds us all that she, like all of us, will eventually fade away and that as bright as we may be at one time in our lives, we will eventually fade to black as well.


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  • One Response to “Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn Diptych)- Third Most Influential Work of Modern Art”

    1. Pop Art Portraits Says:

      […] the image in some way they had never considered before.  For example, Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Diptych is a series of portraits of famed movie star Marilyn Monroe.  He took one single image of her, a […]


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