By: Eros

Gabriel Buttigieg

EROS

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Description

‘PRIMAVERA’

(AFTER BOTTICELLI, MICHELANGELO, RAIMONDI & STEFANO MADERNA)

270x137cm 

Acrylic, Charcoal & Satin Varnish on Linen 

2021


At first glance, the painting denotes mythic figures, humans, and animals, caught in a seemingly playful, surreal dance. The Titans, those mighty immortal giants of incredible accomplishment and power, and the common mortals, marked by their physical and finite frailties, are one and in unison, cavorting in complete and utter abandon. In an artificially created universe, the mirroring of the gods and humanity is evidently celebrated. However, the hedonistic representation is clearly counterbalanced by a more menacing theme, which lurks just beneath the surface.


In fact, the main protagonists of this orchestrated pictorial scene are visual representations of the anxiety and the responsibility which torment humanity, and the aftermaths which may occur when man is in the grips of the relentless pursuit of pleasure. The figure of Prometheus, in eternal torment for his irreplaceable gift to mankind, reminds the viewer of the consequences of defying the gods, while the presence of the vulture evokes a sinister remembrance of all that can be lost abruptly. Hercules and Antaeus are caught in an eternal battle for supremacy, with the latter being rejuvenated after each encounter, and his downfall occurring only when detached from mother earth. However, in a paradoxical and deterministic manner, in this painting, the maternal figure’s utter indifference to her offspring is palpable and absurd in its depiction. Similarly, the figure of the ram, with all the instinctive primordial underpinnings which it represents, is harmoniously balanced by the purity associated with lilies. The faun, identifying with humanity through a sexual encounter, tramples unabashedly on the ram. This prompts the viewer to recall that the beast always has to yield to the violent assaults thrust upon it by those who consider themselves powerful and superior to it, despite the fact that it is the assailants themselves who are the actual perpetrators of viciousness.

‘PRIMAVERA’

(AFTER BOTTICELLI, MICHELANGELO, RAIMONDI & STEFANO MADERNA)

270x137cm 

Acrylic, Charcoal & Satin Varnish on Linen 

2021 


WITH BORDER



In the second painting, the figures assume a dreamlike and ethereal quality. The swan, who is the god head personified, gently stretches out towards the female figure, who willingly accepts the sexual advance, and allows the swan to cradle on her breast. The symbolically tender manner in which this union occurs clashes with the narrative of the societal discourses surrounding rape, turning the sexual act into a longed-for pursuit. Ironically, the one who is being ravaged reaches out to penetrate the female figure who fills the canvas. Concurrently, the male figure penetrates the same figure. This contrast makes one wonder where the rape scene is featuring, whether in the poignant union between god and man, or whether, once again, in the decadence of mankind.


The paintings transition from the strong hues of the bottom painting, replete with volume and strong figuration, to the finer lines of the upper painting, where contours merge to create a flowing depiction of figures. The darker colours at the bottom contrast sharply with the predominantly white landscape of the upper painting, with softer colours creating congruence

and balance to the tableaux. A harmonious equilibrium is maintained by the positioning and the composition of the figures, and by the variance between the violent and the delicate paint strokes governing the paintings.

‘AGNUS DEI’

(AFTER VAN EYCH, RUBENS’ RAPE, RAIMONDI’S ‘ARIANE’ & MICHELANGELO’S ‘LEDA AND THE SWAN)

135x198cm *2

Acrylic, Charcoal & Satin Varnish on Linen

2020


In the first painting, in an inverse portrayal of the salvific process, the redeemer steadfastly bears witness to the depravity of humanity. The dynamic urgency of the act of copulation contrasts with the stoic image of the figuratively redemptive lamb. Life flows freely from the wretched saved to the supposedly divine saviour, who hides under the guise of innocence, ready to pounce on humanity, its prey from the outset. Libidinal forces transfer from mankind to the lamb, and blood gushes out of the “innocent” predatory saviour. The life-giving force which drenches the ground is in sharp disparity with the bare landscape at the other end of the painting, with the grapes reminding the viewer of ancient Bacchanalian rites. The male figure is solid, immovable, and completely in control, despite him being depicted in partial form, at the side of the painting. While he penetrates, he territorially holds on to the hapless female, who gazes longingly in a sideways glance at the lamb, her promise of deliverance. The central female figure stretches upwards, towards the heavenly creatures who look down on mere mortals, detached from the unfolding drama happening around her. In the midst of a sordid rape scene, she reaches towards the numinous, casting her shroud, in an act reminiscent of resurrection.

‘PRIMAVERA’

(AFTER BOTTICELLI, MICHELANGELO, RAIMONDI & STEFANO MADERNA)

270x137cm 

Acrylic, Charcoal & Satin Varnish on Linen 

2021 


DETAIL

‘AGNUS DEI’

(AFTER VAN EYCH, RUBENS’ RAPE, RAIMONDI’S ‘ARIANE’ & MICHELANGELO’S ‘LEDA AND THE SWAN)

135x198cm *2

Acrylic, Charcoal & Satin Varnish on Linen

2020


UPPER PANEL

Authenticity

The artwork comes with a Certification of Authenticity signed by the artist.

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