Tag Archives: Peter Paul Rubens

The Lebowski Cycle – Jester (After Velazquez’s Portrait of Pablo de Valladolid)

Jester (After Velazquez's Portrait of Pablo de Valladolid) • Joe Forkan oil on linen, 48" x 76" (121.92 cm x 193.04 cm)

THE LEBOWSKI CYCLE – (Wall text from the exhibition) The Lebowski Cycle is a series of paintings and drawings exploring layered narratives, using masterpieces of European art and the 1998 Coen Brothers’ film The Big Lebowski as a starting point.  The series is the result of a longstanding interest in narrative painting, particularly paintings from the Baroque and Neoclassical eras; complex figurative works that depict grand story arcs, compressing a multitude of thoughts, ideas and emotions into a singular image. However, it is the human interactions and conflicts, formal qualities, and modes of depiction that were as interesting to me as the specific stories. I wanted to explore these ideas, but looked for a way to mitigate the grand seriousness that historical and religious paintings often contain. I started thinking about The Big Lebowski, (a favorite film, obviously) trying to imagine how the characters, humor and preposterous story arc of the film might be enlisted to explore multiple points of view, moods, and intentions if combined with themes and titles from well-known works of European art. The combination led to hybrid images that reference art history, film, and contemporary art, from sources that inform, overlap and may even contradict each other, all run back through the imprecise language of painting. – Joe Forkan

Portrait of Pablo de Valladolid • Diego Velázquez 1636-1637 Oil on canvas 212.4 cm × 125 cm (49.2" x 84") Museo del Prado, Madrid

The Fifer • Edouard Manet 18 Oil on canvas 161 cm x 97 cm (63" x 38 1/2") Musee d'Orsay, Paris

Detail - Jester (After Velazquez's Portrait of Pablo de Valladolid) • Joe Forkan oil on linen, 48" x 76" (121.92 cm x 193.04 cm)

The Lebowski Cycle at The Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA • Sept 10 – Oct 28, 2011 Opening Reception: Saturday, September 10th 6-10pm

The Lebowski Cycle – Venus (After Titian)

Venus • Joe Forkan 2011, oil on linen, 72" x 50"

Here is another painting from The Lebowski Cycle. I was looking at Titian’s Venus of Urbino and Manet’s Olympia. I’ll be posting more on this soon.

Venus of Urbino • Titian 1538 Oil on canvas 119 cm × 165 cm (47" × 65") Uffizi, Florence

Olympia • Édouard Manet 1863 Oil on canvas 130.5 cm × 190 cm (51.4" × 74.8") Musée d'Orsay, Paris

The Lebowski Cycle at The Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA • Sept 10 – Oct 28, 2011

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 10th 6-10pm

The Lebowski Cycle – Sacred and Profane Love

Sacred and Profane Love (After Titian) • Joe Forkan 2011 oil on linen, 72" x 40" (182.88 cm x 101.60 cm)

I’m currently finishing the framing of the last of the paintings in the studio headed for the show at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion. I framed 10 paintings this last weekend, with help from some friends. Delivering work on Monday.

Sacred and Profane Love Titian - c. 1513-1514 oil on canvas 118 cm × 279 cm (46" × 110") Galleria Borghese, Rome

My studio is going to seem really empty after sending off 14 large scale paintings for the show.

This piece is based on Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love. I’ll write more on the series once it is all installed, but wanted to post this recently completed painting from the Cycle.

Detail - Sacred and Profane Love (After Titian) • Joe Forkan 2011

The Lebowski Cycle – The Lamentation

The Lamentation • Joe Forkan 2006-2011 Oil on Linen 72" x 40"

Here is another recently completed painting from The Lebowski Cycle. This one is titled The Lamentation, and I was working with a couple of specific Lamentation paintings in mind (by Rubens and Giotto), but I was also looking to the larger tradition of paintings dealing with this subject matter.

The Lamentation Peter Paul Rubens 1614 Oil on wood 41 cm x 53 cm (16" x 20.86") Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

What interests me about paintings from the Passion is the complex appeal to emotion that floats through them.

But that appeal is complicated by the passage of time and the shifting cultural context through which the work is seen, and by the conversation that surrounds the art (the historical importance of the paintings, the biography of the artist, the formal and stylistic structures of the depictions, etc.).

“…You look at the art of the Renaissance, mostly created by the Roman Catholic Church and commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church. Does Renaissance art as it has manifested itself over 400 years represent the church? It does not represent the church.

The kind of art we like today became the kind of art we like today because people took that art and used it for their personal ends. They disregarded its ideological content, and took it to mean something that they valued. So, if you like a Caravaggio today, that doesn’t mean that you believe in the Counter-Reformation principle of the communion, right? And so, well, then what do we like?

Well, we’re still figuring that out.”

— Dave Hickey

Meaning is always migrating. But with all of this ebb and flow, it can be a bit of a shock to wander through a museum paying close attention to the fact that, no matter what the intentions of the artists, a huge percentage of these lovingly crafted works of art are brutal, grizzly images of cruelty, torture, suffering, death, and grief. The body count is truly staggering. How many times have artists crucified Christ or skewered St. Sebastian?

Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), Cappella Scrovegni a Padova, Life of Christ, Lamentation (The Mourning of Christ)

And people complain about violence on TV and in movies…

“…There are issues worth advancing in images worth admiring; and the truth is never “plain,” nor appearances ever “sincere.” To try to make them so is to neutralize the primary, gorgeous eccentricity of imagery in Western culture since the Reformation: the fact that it cannot be trusted, that imagery is always presumed to be proposing something contestable and controversial. This is the sheer, ebullient, slithering, dangerous fun of it. No image is presumed inviolable in our dance hall of visual politics, and all images are potentially powerful.”

— Dave Hickey (The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty)