The Christian tradition is the foundation of Western Painting; from Byzantine iconography to Renaissance frescos, the depiction of religious imagery has not been short of all-pervasive. These representations have an overwhelming tendency to reaffirm the truth claims of the faith which inspired them. Contemporary painting has substantially undone this coupling of representation and religion.
This painting seeks to reexamine and confront this history, appropriating and amending a well known Caravaggio from the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in Rome. The interventions into this image have imbued a certain equivocality, eliminating the dogmatic semiotics and sense of narrative. All that remains is an anonymous saint, alone in the void. There is an interpretive freedom in the empty baroque, an image at once representing and distorting the ancient lore, questioning the tenacity of tradition in both the aesthetic and religious sense.
'Something has happened between religion and art: painting has not exactly contradicted religion, or quite absorbed it, or recreated it, or identified with it.'1
- James Elkins
Elkins, James and David Morgan. 2009. Re-enchantment. New York: Routledge.p76.
Saint, 2016, Oil on Panel, 22x25cm