Nude, Tina Modotti

Object Details


Nude, Tina Modotti


Edward Weston (American, 1886 - 1958)






Gelatin silver print


13.7 × 23.7 cm (5 3/8 × 9 5/16 in.)


© 1981 Arizona Board of Regents, Center for Creative Photography

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My eyes and thoughts were heavenward indeed--until glancing down, I saw Tina lying naked on the azotea, taking a sunbath. My cloud "sitting" was ended, my camera turned down toward a more earthly theme...
-Edward Weston

Distracted from his original goal of photographing clouds, Edward Weston made this nude portrait of his lover, Tina Modotti, on the terrace rooftop of their temporary Mexico City home. Stretched out with her hands tucked under her back, her figure forms a series of arcing and sweeping lines that draws the viewer's eyes from her forehead to her breasts, rib cage, stomach, and thighs. Weston made this image when the sun was high overhead, resulting in a small shadow under the arch of her back. His elevated and diagonal angle exploited the formal qualities of Modotti's curvaceous figure.

Modotti was not simply Weston's lover and model; she exerted an enormous influence on his creative vision during their years together in Mexico. She arranged for his first exhibition in Mexico City, introduced him to many prominent artists, served as his language interpreter, and worked as his darkroom assistant. Weston taught her photography. During this critical period they inspired one another--each developing a unique, modernist vision.

Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Optical Parables (November 13, 2001 to February 9, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 13, 2001 to February 17, 2002
  • Museo Nacional de Arte (Mexico City), March 14 to June 2, 2002
  • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), November 10, 2002 to February 9, 2003
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004
Tina Modotti and Edward Weston in Mexico (September 2, 2006 to January 2, 2007)
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), September 2, 2006 to January 2, 2007
Edward Weston: Enduring Vision (July 31 to November 25, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 31 to November 25, 2007

Newhall, Nancy, ed. The Daybooks of Edward Weston. 2 vols. (Rochester, N.Y., George Eastman House 1961-66) vol 2 (New York: Horizon Press), p. 113.