Paula Rego, Pregnant Rabbit Telling Her Parents, 1982
As the cliché has it, a picture paints a thousand words. I’m not sure how often that’s actually true – if ever – but Paula Rego certainly gives it a good go. There is frequently a personal element to the stories she tells though for me the pleasure more often comes from setting the background aside and letting the image do the talking. Casting animals in the roles of her protagonists mean that Rego’s stories often make me smile. In this respect a particular favourite is Pregnant Rabbit Telling Her Parents. Actual rabbits of course must spend a good deal of time pregnant, so their parents would be unsurprised by the news the painting’s title character is breaking – indeed Rabbit has a somewhat brazen, what of it look about her – but actual rabbits would also have rabbits as parents. In the world of Paula Rego that would be far too easy.