Magazine article Tate Etc.

Degrees of Separation

Magazine article Tate Etc.

Degrees of Separation

Article excerpt

Edward Burne-Jones's painting The Golden Stairs 1880 started as an idea in 1872, one year after the artist's visit to Italy where he had sketched scenes from Piero della Francesca's Legend of the True Cross C1452 in the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo. Burne-Jones actually began the painting in 1876. His friend, the critic FG Stephens, later wrote how flesh tones, composition and faces in his art had changed, and how it 'now resembles in many points the art of Piero della Francesca'.

Several decades later Marcel Duchamp may well have seen The Golden Stairs in the form of Felix Jasinski's etching after the painting, published in 1894 and known to have circulated and been admired in France. This image, as well as other influences such as the serial chronophotographs of Étienne-Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge, would inexorably lead to Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) 1912.

The Canadian artist Emily Carr saw Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase during a trip to New York in 1930. …

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