Jules Kirschenbaum KirschenbaumU.S. 1930-2000
Meditations on Death: J. Christ 75.0015
In the early 1970s, Jules Kirschenbaum began a series of metaphorical paintings on mortality using famous literary and historical figures: Meditations on Death. In these, Kirschenbaum included quotations from some of his favorite Symbolist poems and from other twentieth-century literary sources, while referencing medieval and Gothic architecture, still-life painting, and everyday objects from his studio. The theme of memento mori (remember mortality), often present in Dutch still-life paintings, is very strong in this series, as is the technique of collage. In this painting, Kirschenbaum has imbedded a red thread into the paint surface (as well as painting the word on the surface), a symbol, said the artist of the way in which a fragile element can hold everything together. Kirschenbaum's particular style of Realism developed from twin interests. At an early age he was drawn to the work of medieval and Renaissance artists, to their love of contour and form, the amount of detail in their paintings, their use of perspective, and also to the ways in which they used metaphors and stories. Kirschenbaum's other interest was in modern abstraction, an area he explored while studying with painter Hans Hofmann.
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