Jenny Saville, The Mothers, 2011, oil on canvas, 106 3/8 x 86 5/8".

Jenny Saville

Gagosian | 522 West 21st Street

Jenny Saville, The Mothers, 2011, oil on canvas, 106 3/8 x 86 5/8".

Jenny Saville’s “Continuum,” a presentation of eight drawings and five paintings, demonstrates the pull and power of the past—indeed, the inescapability of art history. The inclusion of the word pentimenti in several titles makes the point clearly: Pentimenti are compositional elements that an artist has painted over, yet still remain visible—they are the return of the repressed. From Saville’s The Mothers, 2011—a depiction of a seated mother holding two children—emerges Leonardo’s drawing The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and the Infant Saint John, ca. 1499–1500, owned by the National Gallery in London. The Michelangelo work that forms the basis for Study for Pentimenti IV (After Michelangelo’s Virgin and Child), 2011, is probably The Virgin Child with the Infant Saint John, ca. 1504–1506, in London’s Royal Academy of Arts. That work, like Saville’s paintings

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