The Relief Carving of Jonathan Pageau

25 03 2011

Here is some relief carving by Jonathan Pageau, an artisan based in Canada. Jonathan is Orthodox and is working very much within the iconographic form, the principles of which he will not compromise, as one would expect. However when I chatted with him about his work, it struck me that as well the more familiar Eastern forms, he has an interest in traditional Western forms of iconographic art as well.
He is happy therefore to consider the portrayal of some Western types that are not part of the usual Eastern canon. He works in wood and a soft soapstone from Kenya called Kisii stone. Read the rest of this entry »


Spanish Polychrome Sculpture, Ancient and Modern

16 07 2010

I was disappointed recently not to be able to get to see exhibition that was recently at both National Galleries (Washington DC and London) called The Sacred Made Real. It featured the Spanish baroque naturalism that I love, painters such as Velazquez and Zurburan. It also had a number of examples of Spanish baroque sculptors who worked in wood. These are referred to as ‘polychrome’ meaning many colours, because as you can see, they were all painted. I was not aware of this tradition at all until I visited Granada about five years ago. The Bishop of Granada, who I was lucky enough to meet had a great interest in art. He told me that he thought Alonso Cano the greatest Baroque artist because of his polychrome sculptures. Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons from Baroque Sculpture

9 07 2010

The first name that comes to mind when thinking of great sculptors is Bernini. When we look at his sculptures there are parallels to the baroque approach to painting. Although he is creating form in three dimensions, he still ‘paints’ in light and dark so that the baroque symbolism of the Light overcoming the darkness is there. He is quoted as having deliberately cut the lines in his statues deeper to accentuate his shadow, especially, as he said, that he did not have coloured paint to work with, only contrast of light and dark. This is why he took such care to consider that placement of his works relative to the source of light. Some artists, such as Alonso Cano and the other Spanish workers in wood of the baroque period did paint their work (hence the name ‘polychrome’ – many coloured). Read the rest of this entry »

The Work (and Blog) of Matthew Collins

11 06 2010

Matt Collins is an American, originally from Chicago, who was my teacher when I studied portrait painting in Florence. Aside from the daily critiques of my work, he was always very happy to answer questions about the baroque style and direct me to further reading. He has been therefore, very influential in giving me what understanding that I have of this great Christian tradition.

I had lost contact with him after I left Florence, until I was asked to be on the advisory board of the Foundation for Sacred Arts. When I looked at the works the Foundation had presented at a recently staged exhibition, there was one submission that caught my eye as being consistent with the baroque tradition. It was painted by Matt and it is the one shown here. Read the rest of this entry »