The ageing artist is dressed in bizarre clothes, which create a tortoise-like shell which he hides inside, his head covered by the cap and bells with the asses ears of the traditional fool. The drawers in his chest contain the tubes of colour, the expression of his inner self, the medium with which he mixes them drips from his heart, his life’s blood. The artist’s brushes are an extension of his masculinity, made more potent by his skill in using them. He also carries his paper, canvas and drawing books.
He stands on the shoulders of giants, the artists of the past who inspire him. The paintings he makes displayed on his back are all derivative, like most artists work, but altered to appear more his own. Thus the self-portraits of Dali, Leonardo and Rembrandt all have his face, since all artists are really displaying themselves. Behind his legs, barely discernable are pictures of the women who have supported him throughout his career.
Thus we have an image of an inflated but fragile ego, facing inevitable old age. But still he hopes for a great work to appear. The crow on his head, which in medieval times was thought to cry “cras cras”, Latin for tomorrow, continually tells him that tomorrow will be the day when his genius will flower.
Walnut, limewood, cherry, ash and elm
24 inches / 61 cm high