Oil painting Gaddafi Sentence by artist Gheorghe Virtosu

by Alexandra Osadkova

17 June '18

Oil Painting depicting Muammar Gaddafi inglorious finale

Gaddafi Sentence the physical and metaphysical mediator

Death is one of the keys in themes in the world culture. Since ancient times art was used to capture the images of people who are gone - in masks and portraits. From this point of view, art is the mediator between physical and metaphysical, it’s the way we can overcome our mortality. And the superstitious avoidance of the subject of death makes it specifically intriguing and repelling at the same time. Death is also a great ‘revealer,’ that exposes not only the role this or that person played during his/her lifetime but often makes the diagnosis to the society, considering its reaction to the passing of someone significant.


It’s difficult to think of more contradictory personage in contemporary history than Muammar Gaddafi - a Libyan revolutionary, who turned out to be an authoritarian dictator, a politician praised and condemned by millions.

Virtosu pictures his inglorious finale in the painting.

The contemporary artist says that, despite definitely not being Gaddafi ’s supporter, he was shocked by the assassination and the triumphant voices of the crowd after the news were released, whilst it was the crowd, which was completely deprived of the chance for justice. The bitter fact is that one, whom they brought to power, was quickly labeled as the enemy.

Oil painting Gaddafi Sentence by artist Gheorghe Virtosu


Violence can never be constructive, thus Virtosu represents the theme through the creative strategy similar to the one Cubist painters used - the deconstruction of form.

The syntax of the body is interrupted, as the artist sticks to the state of disarray. Unlike the Cubists, the author doesn’t apply rectangle shapes, preferring lurching wave-like forms, as if the substance has melted down and expanded over the surface. Curves are more natural for depicting flesh - the flesh that is becoming flatness without the support of life.

Despite being still visible, it gradually starts merging with the surrounding shambles of the sweeping brush traces of exactly the same colors as the figures themselves. The equal intensity of the figures and the background loosens the force, which gravitates forms to each other.

The unreached painterly equilibrium causes the grim effect - the sense of decay.

The sense of the brutality

The savagery of Gaddafi ’s end occurs aestheticized and, at the same time, monumentalized. The historical fact is purified from the verbatim character of the media coverage, which ‘savored’ all details of the event on the photo- and video footage. The distorted features on the postmortems images are stylized to the extent when they are no longer a portrait, but the artistic attempt to process the sense of the brutality of what happened and indignation into the elaborated form.

Because, if not art, what should be the reminder of the core values of life?

About author Alexandra Osadkova was born 1984 in Kiev, Ukraine. She studied at National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture, Kiev. Educated in Ukraine and the US. Lives in Los Angeles. Exhibition Designer, Writer. E:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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