ARTS

Artist Paints Post-Mastectomy Angelina Jolie Topless Portrait

05/24/2013 12:30 pm ET

Famed Swedish artist Johan Andersson has painted a topless portrait of actress Angelina Jolie that may be shocking to some.

The oil painting features a bare-chested Jolie after her elective double mastectomy surgery -- an experience she described in a candid op-ed for The New York Times titled "My Medical Choice" earlier this month. The 37-year-old elected to undergo the surgery after learning she carried the breast cancer gene. The surgery lowered her risk of getting breast cancer from 87 percent to under 5 percent.

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For Andersson, Jolie's plight hit home.

"My mother had aggressive breast cancer when I was 15, the thought of her having to have a mastectomy really scared me and she was fortunate enough to have surgery without the mastectomy," Andersson told U.K. art enterprise Art Below, which has worked with the artist on past paintings. "The recent news about Angelina stirred an anxiety within me leading me to paint this portrait. There is an underlying awkwardness in her demeanor in juxtaposition to the natural beauty of her face."

Proceeds from the sale of the topless portrait of Jolie will go to Falling Whistles, a campaign for peace in the Congo, according to Art Below. Jolie, director of "In the Land of Blood and Honey," has dedicated herself to fighting for human rights in the region.

Andersson -- who is the youngest artist to be nominated for the BP Portrait Award and one of the youngest artists to be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery -- has painted famous faces before. His portrait of Amy Winehouse, completed just weeks after her sudden death, became iconic to her legions of fans, The Sun notes. Like the famed Winehouse portrait, Jolie did not sit for Andersson's recent reimagining of the actress.

"Angelina Jolie is the ultimate female icon in this age that we are living in where we worship humans as if they were Gods," Andersson told The Huffington Post through Art Below, which has worked on the debut of the portrait. "I wanted to depict Angelina as a vulnerable human being confronted by the realities that people are faced with no matter what their status."

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angelina jolie topless portrait

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