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The death of Paul Newman, the last Titan of classic cinema, called the curtain on a whole era of moviemaking.
Untouched by money or fame, Newman remained modest and truly dedicated to his family, turning down the image of a sexy movie idol that was forced on him by the star system.
He stood out so much for his talent, his irresistible charm and wit as for his moral principles offering the public not only outstanding performances as an actor (in more than 65 high quality movies) but also an equally important charity work.
The generous financial support to various educational and medical institutions for poor kids maintained all his life his own personal concern. He organized and supported, fiercely, large anti-drugs campaigns especially after he lost his son due to drug abuse. He was politically active and fought Nixon by supporting the democratic candidates.
He was a great actor, competent director and producer, writer of screenplays and passionate formula 1 driver. In the last decades of his life he retired from Hollywood to concentrate of food production. He was one of the first in the United States who supported organic farming and waged war on the mighty interests of the food industry establishment.
So, in order to honor Paul Newman and the classic movie era he represents, I chose to use his face to simulate the face of Hermes as curved by the great master Praxiteles.
Praxiteles' Hermes is not only a wonder of art but represents also the ideal of masculine beauty that was conceived in the ancient greek times and survived until today. My intention was to prove that the aesthetic principles and ideas of the ancient greek art are not affected by time and manifest themselves in persons and objects that represent our modern beauty ideal.
The composition is symmetrical, build on a rectangle and a square. The transformation from one face to the other takes place, in delicate steps, in the rectangle.
There is a sense of energy flow due to the linear raster that covers the rectangle's surface connecting the three faces. I chose a monochrome rendering because the important element in those three phases is in the figure, not in the colour.
The work focuses on the comparison of the three faces in order for Paul Newman's face to become alive in the characteristics of Hermes' marble head.
The big square contains the actor's final portrait in gros plan, which is not different from the third head contained in the rectangle, only with the addition of red colour as juxtaposition to the dominant bluish tones.
It's worth noticing that there is a certain notion of cinematographic movement from Hermes' head that is shown in straight profile to Paul Newman's head in the three quarters position.
May 7th, 2013
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