Friday, August 26, 2016

"The Brave One"

15 x 13"
oil on panel

Peter Paul Rubens'  Daniel in the Lion's Den  cannot go unnoticed in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.  Including the frame, it measures approximately 12-1/2 feet wide by 9 feet high.  Rubens painted large masterpieces throughout his very successful artistic career.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, born in 1577, was a Flemish Baroque painter known for his altarpieces, portraits of royalty, landscapes and history paintings of symbolic and mythological subjects - bringing me to Daniel in the Lion's Den, which he painted at the age of 37.  

The story in the Old Testament, in the Book of Daniel, tells how Daniel is promoted to high office by Darius the Mede (King of Babylon), but his rivals trick the king into condemning Daniel to death.  Darius casts him into the lion's pit, crossing his fingers that he'll survive, visits him the next morning asking if God has saved him.  Daniel replies 'God sent an angel to close the jaws of the lions because I was found blameless before him'.  The king then rounds up the back-stabbers and their wives and children and tosses them into the lions' pit and commands 'all the people of the whole world to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel'.  It all may be fiction or folktales, but yikes, that's harsh.

The scene was depicted by several notable artists including Henry Ossawa Tanner and Jan Brueghel the Younger and is included in music thru the years - example, in Fiddler on the Roof, the song Miracle of Miracles - 'Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, God took a Daniel once again, turned him around and miracles of miracles, walked him through the lion's den.'

I worked hard on this new painting, using my little brush for a change with respect to the details of Rubens' attention to the lions' hair and Daniel's exaggerated pose.  This painting will be included in the upcoming group show Lions + Tigers + Bears represented by Robert Lange Studios and held at the Vendue Hotel in Charleston, opening October 20th.

Please click here for a larger view.

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