Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A New Commission with Old Traditions

Over the years I have done many commissions, and I have just recently finished one that I am particularly proud of.
This is a painting for a friend of mine with her mother and her daughter. I stitched it together using several different photographs, one set in Chicago, which is where they are from. 

I was particularly touched by the idea that there would be three generations of women depicted in the finished image. I tried to emphasize this by depicting their hands; one tiny and young, one in full womanhood, the third wizened with age. 

I also supported the element of three by forming the composition in a triangle. 

The use of a triangle in portraiture common throughout western art. It conveys a sense of stability and monumentality that is pleasing in general, but in particular when used in family groups. In fact, it was used often by Renaissance artists when painting The Madonna and Child. 
Raphael, Madonna and Child with Book
Raphael was one of the great masters of the Renaissance era. Below is a depiction of The Madonna and Child plus St. John the Baptist, which not only has the triangular composition but also has three figures.
Raphael, Madonna With Child And St John The Baptist
When I went onto choose the colors for this commission, I allowed myself to make further reference to this painting genre by using the colors commonly used to dress The Madonna: red, with a blue overdress.

Although I never intended to imply any religious association with this commission, I did enjoy being able to refer to the special sanctity of family connection and the devotion of loved ones.