Biblical character analysis in painting

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carrie Elizabeth Croom (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Ron Laboray

Abstract: My paintings are allegorical reflections of modernized narratives based on Biblical stories and characters. The subject matter also comes from historical religious painting, modern allegorical painting, and personal experiences gleaned from my own religious influences, including a staunch Christian upbringing with both Quaker and Baptist affiliations. I embrace the narrative traditions of religious paintings that were prevalent during the middle ages, but I update and change elements of the stories. I also use acrylic paint, a medium developed in the 20th century, as opposed to more traditional mediums like oil or tempera. I pick narratives for my paintings based on my interest in gender roles in Biblical allegory and in religious art throughout history. The portraits depicting female subjects are self-portraits, reminiscent of artists Jenny Saville and Cindy Sherman. In these paintings, I engage in multiple relationships such as: artist as objective researcher, artist as subject, as well as artist empathizer, particularly with female Biblical characters. Male subjects depict dominant male characters like Jesus and are sometimes painted as portraits and other times only part of the male character is seen in relation to female characters. Similar to the way Edith Neff uses family and friends to portray mythological characters, my significant other is my model for the Biblical male subjects within my paintings. The paintings invite the viewers to become engaged participants in the narrative through the use of intimate, but large canvases and the viewers’ connection to the gaze of the subject. An empathic concern with the subjects, as seen in the work of Erik Thor Sandberg, influenced my work. The intention is for the audience to empathize with the characters in the portrait and to better understand the characters’ traditional plights and contemporary dilemmas. The reevaluation of Biblical stories for a modern audience, combined with a sense of empathy for individual characters, creates a space for the reconsideration of well-known stories of the Bible.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Art, Biblical, Narrative, Painting, Religious, Self-Portrait
Jezebel, -- Queen, consort of Ahab, King of Israel -- Art
Mary Magdalene, -- Saint -- Art
Delilah -- (Biblical figure) -- Art
Symbolism in art
Sex role in art

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