Epiphany II (Adoration of the Shepherds) 1998 by the brilliant #artist Gottfried Helnwein. This #painting is part his Epiphany series, some of the most powerful images that deal with Nazism and Holocaust themes and one of my favorite #artworks... #photography©️Rania Hoteit.
The seamless melding in Epiphany II of a version of the Adoration of the Magi with a scenario out of the Third Reich is in keeping with Helnwein's desire to press the limits of #juxtaposed #imagery.
The #child illustrates a continuance in Helnwein's themes, especially with his large, #monochromatic "Epiphany" series. Here a group of SS soldiers gaze adoringly upon a placid looking woman who holds a #nakedbaby on her lap. Part redemptive and part ironic, it's a farcical send-up of the original Nativity tradition. Helnwein used an archived photo in which the person originally in the place of the child was Hitler. While the painting is disconnected from a discrete narrative and one wouldn't necessarily know, upon observation, that the sinister men in the piece are SS soldiers, Helnwein's work is rendered with oppressive reverence that is immediately apparent. According to Helnwein, "There are many connections between the Third Reich and the Christian churches in Austria and Germany"; the moral complicity of trusted institutions is the source of his brilliant, black satire.
Says Robert Flynn Johnson, "The apparent blasphemy of this scene of Nazi evil encountering the Madonna and Child in a stadium setting is not so clear cut for Helnwein. Rather it is a more #symbolic case of unconditional evil, the Third Reich, meeting "conditional evil," the Catholic Church, particularly in light of Pope Pius XII's alleged moral complicity during World War II." The surreal atmosphere within the picture is attributable to Helnwein's insertion of the veracity of a carefully #composed news #photo into a traditional #renaissance #composition.
#mixedmedia #oilpainting #acryliconcanvas #painting #20thcenturyart #europeanart #germanexpressionism #gottfriedhelnwein #art.