polish artist ewa juszkiewicz subverts classical portraits of women to question the stereotypical perception of beauty in classical, european paintings. though her artworks are classical in technique, juszkiewicz experiments with their content, resulting in hybrid paintings that balance between what is human and inhuman. the characters in her pieces are women who have already been immortalized on canvas by european masters in previous centuries, whose figure and face are now deconstructed to question the way we perceive female beauty.
born in 1984 in gdansk, poland, ewa juszkiewicz, who now works and lives in warsaw, acquired her classical painting technique during her nine-year fine art studies at the academy of fine arts in gdansk and then in krakow. her reinterpretation of historical women artworks offers the viewer a chance to rethink traditional visual conventions, while it confronts the stereotypical perception of a woman’s beauty in classical, european paintings. by reinterpreting elements that typically indicate a woman’s social position and beauty, such as hairstyles, make up, and jewelry, the artist tackles the stereotypical portrayal of females throughout the centuries.
in untitled (after charles howard hodges), the artwork above, juszkiewicz has created an almost surrealist version of the british painter’s portrait of emma jane hodges (ca. 1810). though the background and outfit of the woman portrayed, hodges’s daughter, are almost faithfully reproduced in juszkiewicz’s piece, her face and hairdo have disappeared and been replaced with locks of hair interlaced with green leaves.