2 Modern Artists Famous for Their Unique Religious Paintings

If you're a fan of modern art and you're interested in painters who examined spiritual and religious themes in their work, then this should be of interest to you. The two artists covered here were not known for their religious or spiritual work, yet they each produced singular works of religious significance. Here is brief overview of their significant spiritual masterpiece.

Andy Warhol: The Last Supper The Big C

Andy Warhol was famous beyond art circles. He was in the gossip columns, he hung around with celebrities, and was a fixture at Studio 54. His most famous work (The Soup Can series, for example) are Pop art treatments of everyday items. However, Andy Warhol was a devout Catholic. Towards the end of his life he turned his attention towards religious art. One painting in particular has special significance. It blends his obsession with commercialism and Pop art renditions of icons, with his life long spiritual and religious devotion. That painting is his take on Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. He created several variations of the painting, including a silkscreen version, yet the one that is most interesting is the version titled The Last Supper The Big C.

The image depicts Christ alongside a number of commercial products: namely a Honda motorcycle, and Wise potato chips. Warhol deconstructed the commercial iconography to illuminate the spiritual aspect of the painting. So, the wings of the Honda symbol become the most prominent features, and the "eye" of the Wise Owl becomes the all-seeing eye of god.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Fallen Angel

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a graffiti artist who transitioned into painting neo-expressionist works. His subjects were varied, anything from boxers and singer to self-portraits. One stylistic choice that he made over and over was to crown his subjects. This can be seen in an early painting titled Red Kings, where the two faces have crowns hovering over their heads. This was seen as boastful, especially in the self-portraits where he crowns himself, leading many to say he was calling himself the king. However, when he later turns to clearly spiritual topics, such as in Fallen Angel, one could argue that these crowns were an attempt to depict a pseudo Gnostic belief.

In Fallen Angel, he depicts the Angel as black, which was one of his recurring thematic concerns, namely his African heritage. The Angel wears the crown that Basquiat painted over and over in his own self-portraits, and they share the same skin color, further cementing his identification with the spiritual figure.

To learn more about spiritual art, or commission a painting, contact resources like Kristina Hutch Matthews. 


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