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Onward Christian Soldiers Painting

Theo Overgaauw


Painting, Acrylic on Canvas

Size: 59.1 W x 78.7 H x 0.8 D in

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About The Artwork

“Onward Christian Soldiers" explores themes of religion, satire, and the complexities of belief. In the center of the composition stands a male figure, cloaked in a costume resembling a white horse with grey patches. He extends his right arm skyward, pointing with conviction, although his face is obscured by a handkerchief. The handkerchief draws attention to the enigmatic smile painted on the fabric, revealing a set of teeth that hint at a mysterious agenda. On his right hand, the figure sports a colossal foam hand typically seen at baseball games, emblazoned with an image of an open book, symbolizing the Bible. The figure's coat is a striking red hue, and it boasts a resplendent golden epaulette, a nod to the pomp and grandeur often associated with religious leaders. In his left hand, he holds the reins of his "horse" while giving a thumbs-up gesture, seemingly proclaiming, "All is well”. In the top right-hand corner of the canvas, a red angel with a distinctive white cowboy hat and boot is depicted, riding a cloud in the form of a bull. His left arm up in the air traditional to bull riding. Conversely, in the bottom left-hand corner, another red angel looks upon the horseman with a mocking expression, suggesting a lack of seriousness and perhaps a critique of blind faith. These surreal elements introduce a sense of whimsy and absurdity, challenging traditional religious iconography. The composition's pose is a direct reference to Jacques Louis David's iconic painting, 'Napoleon Crossing the Alps'. This reference highlights the notion of power, authority, and the potentially deceptive nature of leadership. “Onward Christian Soldiers" serves as a thought-provoking commentary on religious devotion, the role of leaders within faith communities, and the interplay between sincerity and satire. It challenges viewers to question and reflect upon the complexities of religious belief and its manifestations in contemporary society.

Details & Dimensions

Painting:Acrylic on Canvas

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:59.1 W x 78.7 H x 0.8 D in

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My artistic practice is one of constant evolution and experimentation, shifting between ideas and techniques as I seek to keep the process fresh and challenging. Beginning with figurative art during my early days at the academy, I embarked on a transformative trajectory that includes periods of abstraction and a return to figurative painting. These shifts occur deliberately and gradually, rekindling the artistic challenge and infusing fresh vitality into my creations. Personal life experiences, including profound moments like the loss of a loved one or a transition from a vibrant urban environment to a tranquil countryside, have been instrumental in shaping these transformative shifts. Presently, my artistic exploration centers on scrutinizing the intricate connections between religion, particularly Christianity, gender dynamics, and their collective ramifications on society. I hope to raise thought-provoking questions about the enduring influence of strong religious doctrines, which, despite waning in contemporary society, continue to shape both our legal systems and perceptual frameworks. My artistic style oscillates between the realms of abstraction and figuration, with alternating phases where one style takes precedence over the other. Working primarily with acrylics and oil paints on linen, I embark on each piece with a blank canvas and minimal premeditation. This approach empowers me to paint with a sense of unrestrained freedom, sidestepping the potential constraints of meticulous preliminary studies. Such studies, while useful for some, could potentially stifle my genuine joy of painting and the innate vitality that emerges within the artwork itself.

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