Orchid and Hand
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.

Reference URL

Orchid and Hand 1983
  • Artist Rooms
A rather thin, bony hand, severed from the rest of its body, is stretched out horizontally, holding a bizarrely shaped orchid. The uneasy relationship between the hand and orchid can be felt but not explained. In this respect it is similar to the way that Man Ray and other surrealist photographers created unsettling juxtapositions between objects and bodies.

Glossary Open


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.



  • Acc. No. AR00229
  • Medium Photograph, gelatine silver print on paper
  • Size 37.30 x 37.50 cm (framed: 50.80 x 40.60 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008