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James Jean Pays Homage to Leonardo da Vinci in Latest Print Edition

Putting a surrealist spin on the Renaissance master’s ‘Lady with an Ermine.’

James Jean recently took to Instagram to share details on his forthcoming print edition titled Lady with Axolotl. The work, which measures roughly 22 by 16 inches, is an homage to Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine portrait from 1489-90. The original portrait featured a young woman named Cecilia Gallerani from the Milanese court who married the Duke of Milan. The duke, who was da Vinci’s patron for 18 years, was nicknamed “the white ermine” — a mythical beast. The portrait is just one of only four portraits of women painted by da Vinci. The other paintings are the Mona Lisa, Ginevra de’ Benci and La Belle Ferronniére.

The celebrated Taiwanese-American artist’s contemporary take on the da Vinci original portrays a female subject holding the axolotl — a salamander native to Mexico with the ability to regrow its limbs, spinal cord, tail and even portions of its brain. “As our holiday release, Lady with an Axolotl is meant to inaugurate a new era of healing. Her eyes, red with pain, peer into the past, while she lovingly cradles an axolotl that looks into the future,” said Jean in a statement.

Lady with an Axolotl will be available for 24 hours starting at 8:00 AM PST on November 17 and ending at 7:59 AM PST on November 18. The edition is limited by the number of prints sold during those 24 hours and never reprinted. Each print arrives signed and numbered by the artist.

Get a closer look at the print edition by watching the video below and visit James Jean’s website for more information.

Elsewhere in art, Jun Oson navigates isolation in “D_I_S_T_A_N_C_E” Tokyo exhibition.

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