SPECIFIC NOTES ABOUT THIS PAINTING:
The setting for this painting is somewhere in contemporary American culture.
The scene is a long room with reproduced murals from the Hall of Mysteries in Pompeii.
(see link at the very END)
note: all the characters I mention are in the image but some are only lightly sketched in at this time.
Some of the characters are finished and some have been partially painted.
The overall theme is sexual predation.
The setting is an enormous room with a costume ball taking place.
The walls contain a faithful reproduction of the ancient Pompeian mural called the Hall of Mysteries.
The party goers are consumed by their own conversations, outfits and masks.
No one notices the distressed young child with the torn dress except Jesus.
He rushes over –leans over and stretches out both arms, yearning to comfort and rescue her.
but he can NOT!!!!
as is described in the book by Greg Boyd –
GOD OF THE POSSIBLE – Jesus has no human agents in this room willing to save the child…
(see link to his book at the bottom)
The predator stands behind the girl,
(he is still just sketched in pencil- (my model for the predator was Leonardo DiCaprio…
not bc. I think Leonardo is a predator- but he is good looking and many predators are in some way attractive -)
the predator- is unaware that he is invisibly restricted by an angel (like Balaam’s ass).
The predtaor rests one arm on a statue of an ancient fertility goddess.
The head of the statue is small and the limbs are omitted so that the
sexual organs are emphasized.
The 19th century French antiquarian, Cesar Famin supports my use of this visual symbol.
“Before Christianity had revealed to the world its great civilizing secrets,
men rendered a strange worship to those material objects which acted most directly
on their senses. It may even be supposed that a very long time before the Christian era
there was no other worship than that of symbols. The divinity who presided over the reproduction
of the human species, the miracle of all epochs, deserved the purest homage.”
A young woman in the foreground is the only attendee (except for Jesus and the angel) who is disturbed by the party’s theme.
She holds a mask out at a distance from her body and glares as if it were a leprous thing.
The mask is red and gold with a long snout.
Goya used several images of masked figures in his series of etchings entitled Los Capriccios
to represent falsehood and pretense (among other things).
Mark Vallen says of Goya’s Capriccios “It was the unpredictable quirks and impulses of those guided
by superstition or a lust for power that Goya castigated with his etchings. Translated into English Capriccio means,
“Caprice,” or “Whim,” but while the artist portrayed the follies and weaknesses of individuals in his print series,
he always remained cognizant of how larger social forces manipulated and corrupted people. His prints are in essence
a stinging critique against placing the interests of the few above the rights of the many – a concept all too relevant for the year 2010.”
as an aside: Goya is one of my favorite artists.
His social satire helped reshape the thinking of his era.
Back to my painting:
I chose the Pompeian wall paintings to underline the fact (to paraphrase wise King Solomon)
“there is nothing new under the sun”.
Sexual abuse is rampant in the U.S.A. today – just like it was in Pompeii
when the murals were painted.
Most art historians think the ancient murals were used as part of a Dionysian rite for young women.
The initiate was drugged and forced to participate in an orgies, etc. in order to be accepted
into the upper class of society.
Films like Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick (who I mentioned at the start- )
died just four days after screening his final cut of the film – exposing how social elites of our epoch
are as interested in sexual predation as were the Pompeians.
Even more specifically, The scene shows various characters attending a contemporary costume ball.
The hostess of the event is escorted into the room by a butler carrying a tray of champagne.
She is on the far left of the painting in a blue Greek gown.
Continuing to the right are two women holding hands.
The one in a green dress looks delighted by the ambiance of the room.
Next is the most expressive character in the painting at this juncture.
A young lady in a fourteenth century French costume looks shocked by the sight of a grotesque
red mask with an enormous nose. The mask is held by a man standing next to her.
Continuing around the room, the viewer comes to the outline of a woman with her back
to the viewer and a woman in a costume that is jester like but of the same period as the other
French outfits. She is draped across a bench by the far wall.
One of the last characters is Jesus. He looks extremely empathetic and concerned for a little girl
with a torn dress who is crouched on the floor. In fact, he is reaching out for her with an expression
that communicates urgency and distress.
Directly in back of the small girl is a section of the enormous mural which seems to dwarf her by comparison.
It shows a part of the initiation in which a woman is being whipped.
I have barely begun to sketch in a Pre-Columbian fertility goddess.
This piece is being aggrandized by the host and hostess of the party as a great piece of art
and yet historians think the sculptures in this vein had only a tiny head,
breasts and vaginal area (no hands or feet). It is displayed on a pedestal sculpture stand.
A spotlight illuminates it from the ceiling.
as I said- the predator has not been painted as yet….
he will be standing in the far right corner.
There are pencil sketch marks outlining his figure.
He will be physically restrained from approaching the little girl by a semi-translucent “ninja” angel.
NOTE: why an ode to Kubrick?
he exposed the elite’s’ plans and methods- etc.
in the film Eyes Wide Shut- (and most of his films for that matter-)
many believe he died just days after the final cut because of iwhat he exposed in that film….
(perhaps Kubrick went too far and was ‘elimianted’—– (plenty of blogs on that….)
ARTIST’s DESCRIPTION OF PAINTING- (final thoughts):
While searching for a way to express Jesus the way I experienced Him –
I began to see a pattern emerge in the images of Jesus…
which I had been pondering and plastered across one of my studio walls (picture of that coming soon…).
I started to realize that in most paintings Jesus was generally portrayed as stoic, uninvolved and removed
(EMOTIONLESS) but the characters surrounding him displayed the full gamut of human emotion!
This began to strike me as a tragedy because if there were ever a time in history when the people of the world wondered —-
“Where is God- or where is Christ? and do they even CARE?” it is now.
Why does most of the art work for the past two thousand years depict Jesus as stoic, uninvolved and removed
from what he calls “His body”? My Graduate THESIS addresses this and many other questions.
I think that historians will very likely find my work unprecedented in the history of art for several reasons.
The main reason why I believe historians will conclude that my work is unprecedented in the history of Christian
art is this “missing link” between Christian art and Jesus’ emotions. I challenge the reader to visit any major museum i
n the world and take some time looking at the religious icons and other periods of imagery about Jesus. If you find one
painting or sculpture with Jesus portrayed with a human emotion (with the ONE exception of Jesus driving the
money changers out of the temple) I ask you to contact me. When I give this challenge to Christian friends they will
I have been bring up a recently made sketch of a laughing Jesus. I am not willing to include that sketch as an example
of a real break from the tradition I am explaining of painting or sculpting Jesus without emotion for a few reasons
which I will not elaborate on here. But suffice it to say, this is the only singular emotion that artist has portrayed Jesus
with (to my knowledge) and so the artist’s body of work seems to lack a comprehensive understanding of this topic.
Another reason why I speculate that historians will view my work as unprecedented in the history of Christian art
is because this topic is one of the most controversial topics in Christendom.