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Fille née sans mère [Girl Born without a Mother] About 1916 - 1917

Not on display

Picabia made this work by painting over an illustration of a steam engine, probably found in a technical journal relating to railway engineering. He selected some parts to paint over and added in others. The artist was influenced by the enthusiasm for mechanisation he saw in American culture. Here, he uses the machine as an ironic metaphor for human life. The title alludes to the creation of Eve from Adam's rib and also to the Virgin birth. The gold background may refer to Renaissance paintings of the Virgin and Child.

Glossary Open


A figure of speech in which one thing stands for another. By extension, it is any representation that symbolically refers to something else.


A period in European culture from the 14th to the 16th centuries in which the visual arts flourished with advances in the treatment of anatomy and the use of perspective. It is particularly associated with Italy, where it began, though the term applies elsewhere. It is noted for a revival of interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

Metaphor, Renaissance


  • Acc. No. GMA 3545
  • Medium Gouache and metallic paint on printed paper
  • Size 50.00 x 65.00 cm (framed: 90.80 x 75.90 x 3.80 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1990