Pollice Verso, Oil on Canvas, 9×12″, $550
This painting quotes Gerome’s painting by the same name, translating from latin to “Turning of the Thumb”. Initially one may find the juxtaposition of a gladiator with a couple of squash to be a non-sequitur. But if one looks closely at the painting being quoted, which depicts the vestal virgins calling for the killing of the felled combatant, the substitutions become significant. The hands with thumbs up or thumbs down are now replaced with squashes. These “hands” in turn occupy the place of the doomed athlete. The victorious gladiator looks upward, his gaze not meeting the blood thirsty crowd, but the signature of the artist.
This painting is part of a series of small, intimate works I’m painting inspired by the bodegones of Spanish Baroque painter Juan Sanchez Cotan.