Lucas Samaras

Extra Large Drawing #8

Not on view



Graphite pencil and colored pencil on paper

Sheet: 23 1/16 × 29 1/16in. (58.6 × 73.8 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz

Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate


For Extra Large Drawing #8, Samaras turned to his own body for inspiration—as he did for thousands of drawings, photographs, sculptures, environments, and films, using a variety of traditional and untraditional materials in an intense, extended project of self-exploration. Extra Large Drawing #8 contains an X-ray of a large intestine on the left side of the image; the right side combines a drawing derived from an X-ray of the artist's skull with depictions of two X-rayed hands, one presented in vibrant color and the other depicted as a kind of shadow. The middle finger of the colored hand mysteriously seeps into the artist’s jaw bone. To create a background for this physical imagery, Samaras covered the sheet of paper with heavily worked graphite overlaid with hundreds of finely etched white lines. The lines converge at separate vanishing points, illuminating the image’s center and reinforcing the contours of the bodily forms. While the skull and skeletal hands evoke themes of mortality, the artist described his attraction to these corporeal images as a means for discovering “unknown territories of my surface self."