Archive for February, 2009

Rome and us

Feb 16, 2009 in About My Art, Abstract Art

A new painting has been added and can be seen here.

In this painting I was asking myself the question: “What would a contemporary Messiah look like?”. Of course, it needn’t be a woman (like in the painting), but it could be…

This is the second time I’m referring to Catholicism (also see my Pope painting). This is because of the way Catholicism is interwoven with World history and the influence Catholic iconography still has on human culture, not just on believers, but on the entire world. Also, deciphering Catholic iconography leads to important insights into the human psyche, something I will not get into in the literary sense, but I will leave the painting up to your interpretation.

It’s important to note, however, that Christianity in its present form, and certainly in its iconography, is to a significant degree a Roman construct. In my view Christianity is a post-Roman phenomenon, in that it succeeded the Roman empire, in part renouncing it, in part continuing its culture.

The “post-something” part is meant to say that the post-something era is both a break with, and a continuation of, the “something-era”. It’s an era of transition, in which the doctrines of the “something-era” have lost their dominance, but are used as a basis for a new school of thought.

I assume the Christian era to have come to an end during the “Fin de Siècle”, at the end of the 19th century, when the West’s intellectual elite lost its faith, a development which came to the masses during the 1960s. So today we find ourselves in the post-Christian era, in which Christianity is no longer dominant, but continues to be of cultural influence.
One striking feature in both the Fin de Siècle and the 1960s is the emergence of a culture that refers back to paganism, a set of pre-Christian belief systems. Both the Roman Empire and Christianity had always suppressed paganism, so there is a certain logic to the reemergence of paganism in the post-Christian era. Examples of this are the 1960’s hippie culture, but also, and perhaps most clearly, the house music scene of the 1990s, which can been seen as an Africanized version of paganism.

My painting is, as I see it, a contemporary, secular view on Christianity, with an emphasis on the latter’s Roman roots.

New painting

Feb 02, 2009 in Abstract Art, How Not To Paint, New Paintings

Female Portrait, contemporary art by Marten Jansen
Answer Me, abstract painting by Marten Jansen

Yesterday I added a painting made in 1997 (the one on the left) and also an update to the painting seen in the How Not To Paint A Masterpiece thread. I posted this painting on my homepage last year, but then made some changes – the current version is final.

When I made the painting on the left, in 1997, I still thought that on a finished painting every square millimeter should be covered with paint, while on the painting on the right you can see that much of the canvas is left bare. “Less is more”, in my latest style of painting, but I’ll never be a minimalist. Conceptual complexity is not a goal in itself, but necessary to achieve my artistic goals.