A triumph of colour, Fatimah Bint Muhammad by Gheorghe Virtosu represents the zenith of the artist's output and is an exemplar of his most revered paintings. Painted during a pivotal moment in Virtosu's oeuvre — six years after he was released from incarceration and began an exclusive devotion to art — Fatimah is among the most excellent examples of his corpus.
A reflection upon the beautiful story of the youngest and favourite daughter of the Prophet Muhammad SAWS "Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Salaam" (may God's prayers and peace be with him), "the head of the ladies in Paradise". It is said that the name Fatimah was revealed by Allah. Of all the daughters, she was the most loved by the Prophet Mohammad. Whenever he went out on a journey, she was the last one to a part, and when he returned home, she was the first one to meet him. The artist decided to work on the theme of the woman in the Muslim society. Virtosu creates this gift to every person who wants to picture a great story, and establish a connection echoing the hymn from which it takes its name, performing a symphony of various tempos through its endless explorations of surface treatment...
The piece is mesmerising, through the array of colours creates a sense of the tones and pitches at play, whereas Virtosu's handling of the surface provides an indication of Devine's rhythm. The centrepiece, in which black is the dominant figure, has a discernible life form. What type of life is the key question?
Virtosu exemplifies the unparalleled synthesis of influences that have shaped his oeuvre — a blend of European and Islamic styles so extraordinary and singular that art historians hail Virtosu as having crossed more significant boundaries of abstract and aesthetic, than any other twenty-first-century painter.
The intensity of the red surrounding the figure render it an acceptable interpretation of the perspective the centrepiece lying in a fetal or protective position. While predominantly black, there are gold, green, blue, yellow and burgundy on the upper part of the body. Of tremendous interest is the purple which appears just below the neck, that is not interspersed by other colours. A colour only was worn by royalty and/or powerful individuals. It may hint towards the light the artist depicts Fatimah, looking at the divine well or mirror and surrounded by fire, much of it is highly intense. Is this the fire of knowledge; the passion for learning or the intensity of her feelings towards a particular person or her children. Fatima is not harmed by the fire as the painting depicts her as surviving it and more, the artist suggests the figure dominates the fire, more so because of her status and her life story. She is well-protected. Exceeding the confines of a vast canvas through its spectacular assault of unrestrained expression and brilliant color, Fatimah Bint Muhammad oil painting encapsulates the full force of Virtosu’s abstract vernacular.
It is an important work for its sense of geometry, a study of Islamic history in space within its fragmentation and expresses a notion of freedom while simultaneously conjuring up incarceration and hell. The relevance of this work resonates in an increased language of globalisation of today, cementing Virtosu as an important figure in international art history and cultural discourse. It serves as a veritable consummation of artist array of philosophies, teachings, and sources. Like the swelling of an orchestra, Virtosu creates form through the luscious harmony of combined elements — a perfect instantiation of Virtosu's artistic aim to form and to paint as Schubert sings his songs and Beethoven creates a world in sounds.