After Caravaggio, by Eyob Mergia, © 2012
I received a phone call several weeks ago with the news that one my pieces, which had been displayed in a church, had been vandalized. Someone had slashed it with a knife, and the damage was irreparable. I was surprised and saddened to hear that someone would do that. Anyone would feel the same upon hearing that a piece of his or her work had been destroyed in that way. An artist works to inspire his audience, and to move them to create and work in their own way. Doesn't every artist hope and expect that his or her artwork will inspire people to create and work in a positive way, and not to destroy?
One of the reasons I did this painting in the first place was that several years ago I studied the use of dark tones in painting. It was very important to me to paint darker figures in darker compositions, and to learn and develop the techniques used by the Renaissance painters. I often include elements of three excellent painters: Caravaggio, Henry Tanner, and Peter Paul Rubens. Even as a child I loved the works of those painters. In most of their work they use radical naturalist and realist styles which combine a close physical observation with dynamic, even theatrical, approach to chiaroscuro, which is the art term for the dramatic use of light and shadow. A close study of realistic painting is a very good foundation for abstract painting.
So in the end, I have repainted the painting that was destroyed. The church wanted to have me paint it again, and I was happy to oblige.
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