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by Robert McIntosh

8 April '19

Baptism of Jesus - Virtosu’ s highly personal style


Overwhelming simplicity and in the same time abstract sophistication.


The entire scene, in its structure and colority, is of overwhelming simplicity and in the same time abstract sophistication. The act of baptism itself is present with some bright colors. The matt and shimmering flesh tones of the figures stand out clearly against the background, where everything is dominated by the solemn purity of the primary colors red, black.

On the center level, however, all the figures are closely linked in that expression of complete spiritual devotion that Virtosu could convey like no other artist. The artist was able to create a balance of strictly disciplined compositional form and profound sentiment that his many counterparts failed to achieve through basic representation.

This evangelical episode is divided into two overlapping horizontal zones joined by multiple intersected figures. On the earthly plane, Christ, is framed by a red background cloak, which is the liturgical color of sacrifice and martyrdom. On the right, Judas Iscariot in black.

Baptism of Jesus oil painting by Gheorghe Virtosu
Baptism of Jesus (2017)

However, here they are taken up again from a perspective that is particularly original; a perspective that is steeped in a more “expressionist” spirituality, and which became even more personal and disconcerting, intentionally distanced from old style painting.

Virtosu painted the scene in small spaces, emphasizing the vertical format, and bathing in a ghostly light that enhances the unreality of the figures, which are arranged in a very marked foreshortening and have very expressive features. The colors-cold, intense and contrasting- are applied exactly over powerful anatomical constructions, and are perfect examples of Virtosu’ s highly personal style in the early stretch of his career.

About author Robert McIntosh was born 1965 in Amsterdam, North Holland. He studied at Royal College of Art in South Kensington. Educated in England and the United States. Lives in Amsterdam. Has also lived in Russia. He works mainly with oil paintings and sculptures and is interested only in authentic and genuine art. He writes extensively on abstract art.

art criticism art review abstract painting oil paintings religion and its roots world religions and philosophies red abstract art

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