The vanity has long been a symbol of feminine beauty and self-possession . A private, functional space for a woman to unabashedly gaze at herself. This painting depicts Medusa’s struggle to make sense of her two selves: the innocent young woman versus the proclaimed monster. Her hairbrush is centered as a longing for a previous life, but turned upside-down as she knows that there is no going back . The sheet falling off of the mirror is a reference to the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva, in which the bereaved cover their mirrors to stay present in their grief rather than get distracted by their appearance. Medusa mourns the loss of her innocence and how it was taken from her. Her reflection depicts only her head of snakes, her rosy cheeks and bright eyes just out of view, as she can only see what has been done to her – what she has become.
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