Abstract painting. Painted 2014 to 2016 by British artist, Gheorghe Virtosu, b. 1968. Abstract art, Oil painting, 138 cm high by 185 cm wide. 54 X 73 inches. | jewish art, jewish wall art, jewish abstract art, jewish art nyc, jewish canvas art, jewish paintings, jewish paintings fine art, jewish oil paintings |
This oil painting attracts attention at the first glance because of the predominantly red drooping brush strokes as the backdrop of the canvas. The immediately invite the interpretation of some bloody scenes, battles, and violence; and rightly so. Virtosu engages in what what he frequently does in his art pieces: telling a well-known narrative while offering a new perspective to it. The central stage in this canvas is occupied by an abstract figure reminiscent of a fish, with the flag of Israel instead of her eye. Owing to the pronouncing title of the painting, the viewer can puzzle some aspects out: the subject matter is related to Israeli history, a certain queen, and some murder.
Indeed, the Queen of Judah was the only biblical woman to ever rise to a throne; and she did so after all the male heirs, including her sons and grandsons, were killed. Most historians suggest that she was the one who murdered all of the male family members in thirst for power and high status. The painter presents this royal female as a symbolical fish. Thus, fish are the symbol of fertility for Jews and a strong amulet to be held in a household. On the other hand, they are mystery creatures since they live under water and can have many secrets not availed to the human eye. Being presented as a lonely fish, apart from the school of other fish, she is depicted both as a strong, independent woman and as a murderer, who is disguised in dark brown and bathes in the pool of blood of her family. The hourglass symbol close to the tail stands for the fleeting nature of time: everyone is punished in the end. The viewer is invited to decipher these implications, as being helped by means of Jewish symbols and colors.
'A military commander by the name of Jehu was sent by God to kill off the royal line of Ahab. Jehu had carried out God’s orders and destroyed most of Ahab’s family including Athaliah’s husband Jeroham and her son King Ahaziah. Once her son had passed away Athalia decided to kill off the rest of the royal line so that no one could claim any right to rule. Apparently, it didn’t matter if the people she was killing was her children, grandchildren, and relatives. After she carried out this deed she became the undisputed Queen of Israel.'