Romaine Brooks, “La France Croisée (The Cross of France)” (1914)
Brooks, who was known for her masculine wardrobe, painted and bedded various members of the Paris elite. She painted with a more conservative, figurative style than some of the avant gard movements of the time, although the influence of Symbolism and a resemblance to the Surrealist practice of automatic drawing can be seen in some of her work. From the Luce Center of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (link added):Brooks painted a windswept female figure as a crusader and the personification of France. She based the woman’s strong features on those of the actress Ida Rubinstein, with whom she was in love at the time. The figure’s chiseled features and stern gaze set against the backdrop of a burning city evoke a sense of defiance and strength. The city represents Ypres in western Belgium, the site of a major battle during the first year of World War I. The emblem on Rubinstein’s shoulder evokes the bloodshed of war, but the brilliant red may also signal the painter’s passion for the actress.
How can anyone look so cool? Christopher Walken is a gangster.