Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Zurbaran - Saint Francis in Meditation (1635-1639)

I find this painting of a Saint lost in his devotional ritual utterly captivating. The contrast of light and shadow both reveals and hides elements of the portrait. You cannot quite make out all of his features and I feel drawn towards the depths of the blackness of his cowl. The austere and reclusive monastic life is in an instant overshadowed by the powerful and overriding emotion of divine ecstasy. What I find particularly effective about this painting is that it is so contemporary. Replace the Saint with a hooded youth and you have a snapshot of modern inner city culture.

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