MAKING OF "POP ART"
DELVE INTO THE MIND OF BELTRACCHI AND THE OLD MASTERS
DISCOVER THE TECHNIQUES USED TO CREATE THESE MASTERPIECES FROM THE POP ART ERA
Pop Art painting developed independently in the United Kingdom and the USA from the mid-1950s. Young British and American artists made popular culture their subject matter by incorporating consumer products into their work; they developed a style characterized by simplifying motifs, reducing them to a few bold shaping lines, while keeping the color palette bright and vibrant, and sometimes adding words.
Taking everyday motifs from their original context, artists transformed them to create a new statement in their works. The British artists wanted to spark a discussion about the influence of the mass media on contemporary art with their bold, realistic depictions. The artists’ patrons chose to support this realistic representation in order to counterbalance it with the over-intellectualized, abstract expressionism.
The 1950s were a decade marked by the post-World War II boom; between 1945 and 1960, America saw its GDP more than doubled, increasing from $200 billion to more than $500 billion. The American representatives of Pop Art made use of the symbols and trends derived from “the Golden Age of American Capitalism”, and presented the people of the entertainment industry in an ironic-commercial way. Furthermore, with the increasing politicization of the youth in the 1970s, socially critical topics found their way into Pop Art.
Wolfgang Beltracchi paints three variations of ‘Salvator Mundi’: European, African, and Asian. In the context of current cultural, social and political trends, the piece explores both modern capitalism, via the central motif, and the function of a “savior of the world”.
In addition, Beltracchi employs Lichtenstein’s trademark Ben-Day dots, and adopts the design conventions of the comic strip, including speech bubbles in order to mimic commercial printing. Furthermore, quotations have been curated for each variation, making the text part of the artwork.
Wolfgang Beltracchi Talks Roy Lichtenstein
"BECAUSE IT'S POP ART, WE NATURALLY EXTEND OUR FOCUS TO ROY LICHTENSTEIN. THE EVENTS OF THAT ERA, WHAT WE'RE SHOWING HERE: MARTIN LUTHER KIND, KENNEDY, THE VIETNAM WAR AS WELL AS THE FIRST MAN ON THE MOON. WE INCLUDE ALL THESE HISTORICAL MOMENTS BECAUSE THEY WERE IMPORTANT."
Wolfgang Beltracchi conducted meticulous research and dealt in detail with Leonardo’s alleged ‘Salvator Mundi’. He believes that Leonardo da Vinci had no reason to paint this work, particularly since there was no mention of this picture in da Vinci’s extensive notes that were left behind. Furthermore, it is highly improbable that da Vinci would have painted the work for religious reasons because he was not a Christian in the classical sense, but rather an agnostic or a pantheist. Instead, he was very interested in the natural sciences and research that contradicted the views of the Christian Church of the time.
Around the age of 14, da Vinci began his apprenticeship in Andrea del Vorrocchio’s workshop in Florence. He spent his time learning a wide range of technical skills including drawing, painting, sculpting, and even carpentry and metalworking. Vorrocchio’s workshop was verifiably in possession of a glass sphere, just like the one depicted in the alleged Leonardo painting. It is thus possible to argue that given his breadth of knowledge and materials at his disposal, da Vinci would have been familiar with the phenomenon of reflections and distortions that are created in a glass sphere.
Moreover, Leonardo da Vinci was extremely left-handed, which is visible in his authentic paintings and drawings; this left-handedness should be recognizable on a ‘Salvator Mundi’ by da Vinci. Wolfgang Beltracchi shows to a high degree of probability how Leonardo would have employed his full skill and knowledge in his depiction of the sphere held by the Redeemer. In addition, instead of recreating the black background of ‘Salvator Mundi’, Beltracchi paints a landscape representation. To this end, after comprehensive research, Beltracchi envisages, develops and paints a different representation of ‘Salvator Mundi’ in the true style of Leonardo da Vinci, if he indeed would have undertaken this subject.