Her first significant show in Italy in 1925, where she displayed 28 of her new works in 6 months catalysed Tamara’s prominence in the art industry. It is de Lempicka’s ‘La Belle Rafaela’ that elicited a sensation in the world of art, becoming the most stunning nude painting of the century.

The Inspiration Behind La Belle Rafaela

La Belle Rafaela, one of de Lempicka’s famous paintings, was inspired by a model well known as Rafaela. In 1927, as she was walking around Bois de Boulogne, a famous park in Paris, de Lempicka encountered Rafaela. Rafaela was not just a model; she was a beauty that amused everyone who walked past her. Thrilled by her beauty and sensuous body, de Lempicka requested Rafaela to pose for one of her paintings. The following day Rafaela showed up to Tamara’s studio for what would turn out to be one of de Lempicka’s best paintings. Throughout that year, Rafaela became the primary muse of de Lempicka’s arts as well as the subject of her artwork.

Style and Theme

La Belle Rafaela is painted as a reflection of Michelangelo Caravaggio, a famous Italian painter. This is in reference on Caravaggio’s emphasis of shadow and lighting craft. Tamara’s focus on La Belle Rafaela is centred on the creation of a sensuous, sculptural curving of a nude female figure. The painting also has the clarity of exhibition of Rafaela’s curvy figure, something most views consider to be a display of strength and beauty. La Belle Rafaela was so phenomenal that de Lempicka reembarked on a journey to improve the painting in her last days before she passed on.

Related Works

Tamara de Lempicka is also known for other of her paintings and artwork. Some of her celebrated work includes the following:

  • Group of Four Nudes of 1925
  • Kizette in Pink of 1926
  • The Musician of 1929
  • Suzanne Bathing of 1938
  • Mexican Girl of 1947
  • De Lempicka's Inspirations

    Tamara is famous for being a self-reinvented artist. She enrolled in an art academy known as Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, where she perfected her skills. Tamara worked under the mentorship of Cubist Andre Lhote, whom she considered to be her most influential mentor. Tamara's paintings and artwork have inspired multiple designers and artists, including Florence Welch, Louis Vuitton, and Karl Lagerfeld.