Yasmina Reza

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Themes and Colors
Art and Meaning Theme Icon
Ego, Competition, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Friendship and Codependence Theme Icon
Cruelty and Betrayal Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Art, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Art and Meaning

Yasmina Reza’s contemporary farce, Art, centers around one man’s acquisition of a two-hundred-thousand-dollar white painting by an obscure artist named Antrios. When the well-off dermatologist Serge purchases the canvas—painted entirely white—for such an exorbitant price, his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, find themselves wrestling with the aesthetic, intellectual, and existential questions that the essentially blank canvas raises. Reza casts a satirical eye on the world of art and culture, using her characters’…

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Ego, Competition, and Masculinity

Serge, Marc, and Yvan—men in the middle of their lives who have been friends for over fifteen years—are, at the start of the play, all experiencing private crises that are deeply connected to their feelings of self-confidence. As Reza delves into the lives of her three main characters and explores the insecurities that fuel competition between them and drive them apart, she argues that for these three friends—and for healthy relationships between…

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Friendship and Codependence

The fifteen-year friendship between Serge, Marc, and Yvan that lies at the center of the play is bitter and broken, but spellbindingly intimate. As the play unfolds, the audience’s view of the trio’s friendship is not unlike a Roman ruin; something great was there once, but has now fallen into disrepair and exists only as a shadow of its former self. Those who look upon the ruins can perhaps imagine what it looked like…

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Cruelty and Betrayal

On the flip side of friendship and love, there is cruelty and betrayal. The world of Reza’s play is rife with resentment, animosity, and frustration, which results in a climactic battle of wits and words between the trio of friends at its center. Marc, Serge, and Yvan hurl snide digs and outright insults at one another repetitively and circuitously throughout the play. However, in the play’s final moments, Marc and Serge agree to…

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