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La Priére (Prayer)
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© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

Man Ray
American, 1930
Gelatin silver print
9 7/16 x 7 1/8 in.
84.XM.1000.52

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Much of Man Ray's work was motivated by his desire to create a momentary shock in the viewer that would arrest rational thought processes and stimulate fresh ways of seeing. This piece, with its awkward juxtaposition of hands, feet, and buttocks, shocks the viewer in a more conventional sense as well. Man Ray admired the writings of the Marquis de Sade, and this image evokes that author's sexual predilections and strong opposition to clerical influence in secular matters.