The Loves of Man and Woman

1 Feb 2024 | Works

Nobody dies in this story.

The starting point for this painting was an etching I saw at the Marbella’s Museo del Grabado, the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Engraving. During a summer day, we took refuge from the heat there and admired its collection.

For me, the etching immediately brought to mind Henri Matisse’s “La Pompadour” sketch, which inspired me some time ago. But this one, it turns out, was created by Pablo Picasso.

I thought I would do the same thing – take a simple sketch and bring it to life as one of my paintings. It’s fun!

It was simple enough as a motivation to get started, but then I dove deeper into the ancient mythology behind the piece and, quite frankly, grew quite annoyed. According to Google, Jupiter and Semele symbolise a narrative where Jupiter cannot resist the allure of Semele’s beauty. However, it comes with the knowledge that she will ultimately be consumed by his divine light and the fire of his divinity. Thus, the painting symbolises humanity’s union with the divine, which ends in death and suffering.

Do you understand why this annoyed me? This story essentially objectifies women, implying that they should perish if they are too beautiful, all while being dominated by a masculine god. How absurd…

I found myself at a crossroads. I didn’t know if I wanted to proceed with this project. I would feel like a hypocrite if I based my painting on this mythology. But I already invested quite a bit of time, which would be wasted.

I have a rule: I must genuinely love something to paint it.

So, I decided I would create a painting that has nothing to do with Jupiter and Semele. It would depict a loving couple passionate together. I would remove the possessive and intrusive hand to make it an equal and consensual display of love.

Yes, that’s it – a celebration of the love between a man and a woman, where no one needs to meet a tragic end!



Something a bit old, but the ideas are still new