An in-progress series of works examining links between the beautiful and sinister, how they coexist and why one can’t see their true appeal or feel their true power without the other as counterpart.
We live in a world where good and bad coexist, the beautiful exising alongside the ugly. Sometimes the two merge into something beautifully ugly. The difference is in the eye of the beholder.
Art history has illustrated violent and depressing stories from religion and myth, from Diego Velazquez’s ‘Christ Crucified’, to Caravaggio’s ‘Judith beheading Holofernes’. There are masterpieces depicting famous battles, there are heroic soldiers, full of unbridled violence and death – John Singleton Copley’s ‘The Death of Major Pierson’ or Otto Dix’s horrifying ‘Triptychon Der Krieg’. Disturbing details are not hidden from the viewer, yet the artists have managed to make aspects of these paintings beautiful.
There are a plethora of paintings telling similar stories of death and suffering, outwardly hiding their violent or sinister intention. But there we can also find beauty and harmony.
William Bouguereau’s Nymphs & Satyr shows a beautiful and serene scene of playful nymphs coercing a Satyr into the water – where he can’t swim and will drown.
Depicting serenity, beauty and grace against a scene of uncertainty or horror reveals ‘hidden’ aspects from paintings of the past, and brings them into the light where the viewer may decide if the painting is beautiful or sinister.