Andy Warhol: the Portrait of Marilyn Monroe

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Meaning of Work
  • Silkscreen Technique
  • Color
  • Conclusion


Art can be seen as a way of communication. Art influences society in an abundance of ways such as introducing values and even shifting opinions. Art can also be a way to showcase one’s beliefs or critiques on society. For instance, Andy Warhol’s screen prints of Marilyn Monroe can be used as an example. This work is a statement to society as Warhol critiqued American culture and materialism.

The Meaning of Work

Warhol portrayed celebrities, usually women of his time to show the ties between the society of consumers, drama, and fame. It is also said that through this style of work, Warhol correlated with society in which people can be seen as a commodity rather than an actual human being. Warhol also appreciated women and aspired to turn them into icons of glamour. Marilyn Monroe remains one of the most famous sex symbols in history and is also one of Warhol’s most famous pieces of art. Warhol started to become intrigued by the unrealistic lifestyles that Hollywood icons have to live by to preserve their status in society.

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Silkscreen Technique

Warhol used a silkscreen technique for the portraits of Monroe which flattened the two-dimensional photo even further. He reduced the number of shades and incorporated bright colors to intensify the emotional flatness. He also wanted to subtly show the superficial side of Monroe who was a sex symbol created by society. Even though the art was focused on her iconic traits, Warhol wanted to remind us that there is still a real living woman beneath the unrealistic image. He may have wanted to depict to society that these women were just like everyone else even with fame.


Each print is vibrantly colored to display her spirited character. Also, her iconic lips are strikingly colored in a deep red. Numerous prints feature Monroe’s blonde hair by adding different shades of yellow. In another one of the prints, the actress is colored in grey and black, a stark difference from the other prints. The dark colors seem to represent a melancholy remembrance of the actress’s passing. The colors bring Monroe’s iconic status and celebrity glamour to life.


As society is blinded by the attraction with tangible items and fame, Warhol was the one who expressed his honest opinions on society. He purposefully featured influential people in his work to comment about society’s obsession with celebrity culture. Warhol’s art is more than just honoring the iconic status of Monroe. It is an opportunity to consider the consequences in our daily lives of the increasing role of mass media.

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