Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) gave
Gothic art its name. While this art is praised today
and was for centuries the expression for the religious painter
(as well as other artists), when the father of art history
called it "gothic" he wasn't praising it- he was deriding it.
He was referring to the barbarian tribes of the Goths,
and so he said the art was "monstrous and barbarous".
Along with the fall of the Roman Empire, the
Goths were able to change forever the artistic landscape of
Europe. From painting to architecture to language- all
changed with their arrival. Eventually, the Catholic
conquered the Goths and adopted their art.
In 1996 I traveled to Europe and I was introduced to
the Flemish gothic painters. It was in
Brussels that I fell in love with Rogier van
der Weyden'sPieta and Hugo van der Goes'Crucifixion. There was nothing monstrous or barbarous
about these paintings. Vasari, who longed for a return
to the classical Roman styles missed altogether the
beauty behind this art style.
Gothic art works with symbols like no other style does.
As a matter of fact, Gothic art has perpetuated the
practices and symbolism of early Christianity
and its surrounding world to give us a better
understanding of the origin of its theology
I was born and raised as a Seventh-day Adventist,
and imagery in worship was limited, if allowed at all.
This was a difficult thing for me for I craved being
visual in my liturgical experience. My mind was filled
with images of Heaven, saints, etc... Non-tangible
concepts needed to be expressed in a more "prehensile"
manner. The arrows penetrating
Saint Sebastian's flesh didn't hurt until I made them
push in the skin around it as it bled. The nails that
held the Christ to the cross were not
strong enough to keep him there until I nailed them
there myself. Some of my artwork has been referred to as
Neo-Gothic (not to be confused with
Neo-Goth). Combined with my interest for
abstract expression, my "Neo-Gothic" art serves to
redefine Gothic art- or perhaps it remains monstrous and
barbarous. You be the judge. To the left of
this text you will find my rendition of van de Goes'
powered by Artwork's Originals, LLC •
San Juan, Puerto Rico