Leonor Fini was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and raised in Trieste, Italy. She grew up in a wealthy family, where intellectual activities were part of everyday life. She met the Futurists group, right before moving to Paris, at the age of 17. Fini was an autodidact and never attended any art school. Independent, rebellious and domineering, she refused to be part of the Surrealist group, due to the anti-feminist attitudes of André Breton and many others, though she often exhibited with them.
Leonor Fini, an artist of the unconscious, created a surreal world in which women are powerful and where men play a secondary role, captive of their own rituals. She plays off the femininity of independent women versus patriarchal femininity, Lilith versus Eve, initiation and cosmic maternity versus physical motherhood.
Leonor Fini designed settings and costumes for ballet, opera and theater. In 1970, she created all the costumes and scenery for the erotic and freethinking play "The Council of Love" by Oskar Panizza. The day following the representation, Pierre Argillet, publisher of numerous Surrealists, asked her to illustrate the play.
"The Council of Love" is a series of 22 original copper etchings, where friars and bishops are represented in comic, even ridiculous situations. Women, as Manifestation of Beauty, stand in the center, dressed in spectacular, vaporous and airy feather costumes. Their faces are highlighted by mysterious cat-like eyes and a sensuous mouth. Symbols of regeneration and rebirth appear in a kind of magic scenery where nature prevails and characters are transformed through a poetic play.