Robert Mapplethorpe was trained in drawing, painting and sculpture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He began working with collages made from various materials and images cut out from books and magazines. Then, in 1970, he bought a Polaroid camera and began to explore the world of photography in depth. Over the course of that decade he did various self-portraits and also portrayed friends, models, composers and other personalities related to the New York underground or to Andy Warhol’s The Factory. He was also interested in expressing sexuality in a way that was sensitive yet direct, using models from the porn industry or from sadomasochist subcultures. In many of his photographs he impressively depicts the ideal beauty of those portrayed, with an emphasis on black and white photographic techniques and a refined aesthetic in consonance with classical postulates. The provocative subject matter he dealt with often meant his work was at the centre of scandal and debate. The photographic diptych Fernando Vijande bears witness to his first exhibition in Spain, at Galería Fernando Vijande in Madrid, while constituting an interesting example of his masterful dominance of technique and form.