Monday, April 16, 2012

The Revelation...

Sorry kids, I let it slip my mind that I had one more post to make this weekend concerning my less than beloved Roman Emperors series (sorry Commodus, maybe next round).  Our final entry is the painting I did of Titus Flavius Domitianus, better known as Domitian, twelfth emperor from 81-96 AD.  Domitian is another tricky one in terms of reputation, and this is what fascinated me about him.  Roman historians and Judeo-Christian tradition has him marked down as awful tyrant and persecutor, but modern scholarship has found that though he was no doubt an absolute autocrat, he was less the insane tyrant than another victim of posthumous slander.  In other words, he ticked off the Roman aristocracy and they're the ones that paid to get the histories written.  And yet, he was the one that banished John to Patmos where he wrote the New Testament's most infamous book, The Revelation.

This painting came about because of a conversation I had with the great Barron Storey at a show he participated in here in Los Angeles.  Barron, in addition to being a great artist and illustrator, was the professor to a great many of the artists and illustrators of whom I've been enamored of since my youth.  After a conversation about the French Revolution and a variety of historical topics, Barron asked if I ever included my studies in my work.  The answer was a timid "not really", but the question stuck in my mind.   Then I recalled my fascination with the conflicting points of view on Domitian, and felt I had struck upon something that begin to fill that gap.  So I searched for photos of the few remaining contemporary busts of Domitian, and pieced together a portrait. However, due to the conflicting views between past and present, I left the chips and cracks to the bust on his flesh, and the tarnish soiling his cuirass.

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