"Sleeping Angel" Original Pastel Painting
I had never heard of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 - 1610) before coming to Italy and, for the first time, attending art history lectures. Although I was unsuccessful in my attempt to see some of Caravaggio's original paintings in a huge exhibit in Roma a couple of years ago, I did get down to that city recently and saw a couple. But also, here in Firenze, Italia, we have the Palazzo Pitti with its family of museums. It was inside the Pitti that I became a fan of Caravaggio's "Sleeping Cupid" (shown below), painted in 1608.
I have been working with the theme of light emerging from darkness for a while now. It never ceases to make me feel something strong and intimate. Caravaggio's "Sleeping Cupid" is one of his most monochromatic works (another quality I enjoy) and I have always been struck by the way he portrayed the wings, especially the one on the top.
My pastel painting titled "Sleeping Angel" is a combination of several qualities that I wanted to work with: the dramatic light (naturally!); a wing not fully disclosed; the soft velvety texture of smoothed pastel; and the rough marks of pastel applied in a very different way. I miss working with the male figure after having started a scenic series based on my trip to Morocco earlier this year and otherwise working with primarily female models lately. This was an opportunity for me to return again to more figure work. That said, I really feel that the subject of this artwork is the busy, but almost butterfly-like pattern in the sheets surrounding the male form. I hope you enjoy this larger image below.
I admit that I experimented here more than is normally apparent to anyone outside of my head. I wanted to play with how much or little I controlled the tightness and smoothness of the pastel on the UART Premium Sanded Pastel Paper that I mounted on a piece of foam core. At least I think that this is UART. I began this work over two years ago and it is one of many pastels that I brought to Italy with me with the intentions of finishing the work.
But back to the composition: I include a couple of close-up shots to help you see the difference in strokes and textures that I created. I also wanted to push the cold/warm coloring a bit more than I normally do. I wanted the male angel's skin to appear soft, perhaps even a bit velvety, and certainly touchable. He has a warm glow in his skin from an overall yellow field color. The pattern in the sheets is jiggy jagged with fairly high contrast to show off the extreme side lighting. There are pinks and subtle blues in there besides the more obvious colors that photographed better. I left part of the brown paper showing through in places just for fun. Enjoy and thank you for reading!
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Most recent revision: 1 September 2018