In the Cauldron at Midnight

Can a woman be a muse and an artist? In theory, yes. In practice, the roles seldom overlap comfortably. “All that means is you’re someone else’s object,” as Leonora Carrington put it. Although her early self-portrait, The Inn of the Dawn Horse, conveys an exhilarating self-confidence through both the central figure and the animal surrogates around her, especially the galloping white horse, her Portrait of Max Ernst, which depicts the German Surrealist as his alter ego, Loplop, the Bird Superior, bears a mixed message: he carries a tiny horse trapped in a lantern, and the white horse behind him is frozen stiff.

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