Batman painting receives top prize at local art show
University of Missouri graduate student Jake Johnson recently took the top prize in the Columbia Art League show “Hybrid Identity” with his painting “Batman after Velásquez.” Johnson explains the painting on his blog:
Batman is based off of a painting of Mars by Diego Velázquez. The original hangs in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain. The artist (Velázquez) reveals a sense of humor in the painting as the infamous war god is portrayed here not as a strong warrior (as his armor is stripped from him on the floor) but as a weaker more human-like version. Here Mars is not a fighter, but a lover as this is a scene portrayed from Greek mythology where the warrior god has been caught in romance with the love goddess Venus. Rumors state that this painting was also a portrait of King Phillip IV, who was known himself to be the flirtatious type with the ladies. One of the strongest themes in Velásquez’s painting that con-temporized his works was that of banal humanity. The artist was representing the average person as mythological god. In essence Velázquez takes a god from above and brings him down, making him human as he stripped his armor to the floor. Batman attempts to meet Velázquez in the middle, rising from below (A pile of comic books on the floor) to become human.
The Columbia Tribune has an interview with Johnson about the Batman painting. To see more about Johnson’s work, go to his official website, and his blog. The art show runs at the Columbia Art League from January 18 – February 26, 2011.
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