Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Colour Of My Thoughts

Originally uploaded by Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga Steele
Noah’s Ark - 2009
Click the picture or the links to see a selection of limited edition giclee prints from my last exhibition



Baptism of Christ
Tempera on panel, 167 x 116 cm
National Gallery, London
Piero della Francesca (ca.1422-1492)

This picture has a secret. It is in front of your eyes. [Google the image to see it enlarged.] Maybe, if you spend a few minutes looking at it carefully you might just be able to see it; take your time. Anything? Nothing?
Somehow, I doubt you will notice. People don’t, though we not sure why. But, don’t worry, I will tell you the secret. However, let us first put things into context so we can understand the significance.
Piero de la Francesca, the artist, was a painter with a deep interest in mathematics, arithmetic, algebra, perspective and geometry. He wrote books about it. He knew all about proportion and balance. However, in this painting he contravenes the rules of proportion in one small but significant detail of the painting. Can you see it now?

Look closely at Christ’s ears, they are you will notice out of proportion! They are BIG to say the least! At first glance it’s very difficult to notice because they blend well with the colour and texture of His hair. They are almost camouflaged. But now I have told you what to look for, I have made it easier for you to notice this for yourself.
For a painter who is a master of proportion the decision to paint super-size ears is quite intriguing. Why did the artist paint Jesus’ ears like that? Was it a mistake? Absolutely not! The big floppy ears of Jesus was intentional and it is the raison d'ĂȘtre of the painting. Like all good Icons, this painting is a window into the mystery of God. It is about being still and listening, about something you cannot paint: the voice of God.
Jesus’ face says it all: He is listening, concentrating, disturbed by nothing. Is He listening to murmurings from the crowd? Is He listening to the words of John the Baptist? NO! No, He is listening to the voice of God. And God is whispering, ‘You are my beloved’.

Henry Nouwen once said, the only words God whispers to us are, ‘You are my beloved’. This is enough. This is all we need to know: You, me, we are the beloved.
This painting is about listening to and hearing the voice of God. It is an invitation to join Jesus in listening to the voice of God whispering to us, ‘You are my beloved’. How would you depict the voice of God? In this painting we are given the solution. Next time you visit the National Gallery in London go and rejoice in the secret of this painting and listen to see if you can hear that whisper.