Rego depicts a mature artist, a sculptress - as can be seen from the background - having a reflective smoke after setting her two apprentices their daily task to paint a still life of an assortment of cabbages and objects on a table.
The work is not a self-portrait as Rego used Lila Nunez as her model. Rego describes her sculptress as 'a type of George Sand character', Sand was famous for smoking a pipe and leading a resolutely independent life in a masculine way, but she also had a very feminine personality. The artist is placed at the center of the painting with everything else subordinate to it and circulating round it. Imaginative power is what so distinguishes this work and, indeed, Paula Rego's art as a whole.
Leeds Art Gallery
cabbagefemale artistvegetablemouse playing banjoacrylic on paper on canvas