oil on panel
The painting"Our Lady of Merciful Fate" was created in 2009. It was the second painting I executed following my first trip to Europe. Where I spent most of my time at museums staring at paintings. I have always been particularly in awe of the works of the Flemish Primitives. My favorite artist from a technical perspective is Jan Van Eyck who is the forefront master of the Flemish Primitive painters. His masterpiece "The Arnolfini Wedding" is often considered the painting with which the renaissance began. As I spent my time gazing in amazement at these works a thought kept crossing my mind, "These were painted by men, not gods!" So with the paintings fresh in my mind and a determination to solve the riddle of Van Eyck's methods I returned home ready to paint. You can say I had something to prove as I approached the easel re-envisioning the chandelier in "The Arnolfini Wedding" as an Ornate Crown fit for a Saintly Nun, and the marbled tiled floors a staple of many early Flemish works. And no study of Van Eyck would be complete without an array of jewels hence the beaded robe of Our Lady. Clearly from a technical viewpoint "Our Lady of Merciful Fate" is an homage to the master Jan Van Eyck. However from a thematic perspective the work is inspired by the Pantheon of Saints. Inspired by the use of fear to motivate evil doers towards the light as evident through history and can be witnessed in the many haunting paintings from antiquity. With that in mind I invented Saint Merciful Fate! Who is the personification of death, carrying her book of fate in one hand and the vulture of death who separates the temporal from the eternal. Her face ispainted in the Day of the Dead decorated skull style. This is possibly my most well known image thanks to its use on the cover of The Zac Brown Band's billboard #1, grammy winning, platinum selling album "Uncaged."