Francesca Woodman

From Angel Series, Roma, September 1977 (1977)

About this artwork

In this photograph the artist has dressed herself in large crumpled sheets of paper, creating a ghostly form. This is one of a series of similar works by Woodman produced between 1977 and 1978 exploring the theme of angels, in which prolonged exposure is used to create a spectral blur. Taken in a deserted factory in Rome, Woodman uses abandoned debris to create an ethereal, mystical image in the tradition of Surrealism. The mythological theme of the angel is popular with Woodman and suggests a link with American fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville (born 1938). In the photograph she uses a mirror as a prop – it becomes a symbol of artistic self-reflexivity, reflecting the ‘eye’ of the camera back upon itself.

  • title: From Angel Series, Roma, September 1977
  • accession number: AR00354
  • artist: Francesca WoodmanAmerican (1958 - 1981)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Gelatine silver print
  • date created: 1977
  • measurements: 9.30 x 9.30 cm (paper 9.80 x 9.80 cm) (framed: 45.80 x 40.20 x 2.00 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Francesca Woodman

Francesca Woodman

Francesca Woodman’s photographs explore issues of gender and the self, looking at the representation of the body, and more specifically at how her own body relates to the world and her surroundings. Born in Denver, Colorado, Woodman studied at Rhode Island School of Design from 1975 to 1978, spending the final year of her studies on an exchange programme in Rome. She had previously lived in Italy with her artist parents during her youth, and later lived in New York. Woodman was interested in Surrealism and Symbolism, particularly the work of Max Klinger. She began to take photographs from around the age of thirteen or fourteen until her suicide at the age of twenty-two. Despite her short career, she produced a significant and influential body of work.