‘Marilyn’ at Getty Images Gallery

April 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

Screen goddess. Sex symbol. Vulnerable woman.

Without question, Marilyn Monroe was many things.  And in their current exhibition, Marilyn, commemorating 50 years since her death, Getty Images Gallery captures the essence of this Hollywood icon.It is a collection of over 50 photographs, many familiar, while others like the contact strips taken on the set of The Misfits (1960), have been printed for the very first time.

Walking through the gallery what is striking about many of the photographs is the mundaneness of them: Marilyn adjusting her stockings, taking the subway, putting on her makeup.

Yet, somehow, in the way only she could, Monroe makes these ordinary activities sexy, provocative, and glamorous.

Gowns and costumes

Accompanying these images are twelve original dresses, worn by the actress, on loan from David Gainsborough Roberts, owner of one of the world’s largest Marilyn Monroe memorabilia collections.

Some of the dresses are from Monroe’s own personal wardrobe, but most are costumes from movie sets, like the red sequined gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

Although spanning a number of years, every single one of these dresses does the exact same thing: emphasises the voluptuous figure that made Monroe the ultimate sex symbol.

Which is your favourite?

No doubt as you wander you’ll find your favourite image of the blonde bombshell.

Perhaps the famous shot of her leaning over the balcony of the Ambassador Hotel in New York.

For me, however, it’s ‘Sweet Marilyn.’ Taken at her home in Palm Springs Monroe lies on the grass, with her hair tousled and a wide smile.

The simplicity of the photograph is what resonates. It is a reminder that beyond the glamorous, sex symbol was a woman.

With free admission this tribute to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars is well worth a visit.

‘Marilyn’ is on at the Getty Images Gallery until May 6. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus.  

Article first published on The Bowler Hat

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