December 24, 2007

Madonna and Child

How does one paint a Madonna and child? In old schools of Italian icon making the artist had to purify himself for six weeks before attempting to paint the virgin's visage. Gold leaf was used and precious lapis lazuli blue.

I had procured some real lapis lazuli pigment and used it to paint my Virgin and Child Icon (Not sure who owns this now). The halo was made with true gold leaf. For inspiration, however, I turned not to inner purity but to a drawing I made of a marble relief sculpture on a Roman sarcophagus in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The mourning woman with her hand holding back her robe became the holy virgin with her hand delicately hovering above the child's head - protective and caressing.

Merry Christmas to all with more merries to come.

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