The Art of Estefan Gargost

Wood carvings
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About Gothic and Religious Art

- 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 Church 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's Pieta 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 and history.

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' Crucifixion.
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