For centuries skull imagery was the main focus of mainstream artistic endeavor. Egyptians, Greeks and the Romans were famed for treasuring the skull and thus depictions of skinless facial features have been excavated for 1000s of years. By the 16th century skulls were becoming so central to European culture that, with a largely illiterate proletariat, depictions of skulls informed and educated as well as decorated.
So why do we love the skull? Well, certainly we can relate to one, after all we all have one, a shell structure that has evolved over millions of years which protects our most vital organ, exquisitely designed. However, the skull itself is far from a pretty object and why should it be..? Maybe it’s the fascination with its role in the human form as opposed to its aesthetic composition that is what fascinates us the most. At one point in art history all works of the skull were dark and macabre, possibly an insight into the harsh reality of living conditions in the Middle Ages. However, moving forward to the modern day, the skull is certainly an object of desire – the current love of skulls as a motif has never been so prevalent, guided by the some serious players in the world of fashion and art like the late Alexander McQueen and Damien Hirst.
Moving forward to the current time, skull imagery in art and its use as a device to engage the audience in the comfort of the familiar, whilst challenging perceptions, is a common occurrence.
From my point of view, as much as I love skull art, I do like my artists to push boundaries and try and incorporate an element of beauty within the work – and not just attempt to add commercial value to the commodity of their art. A juxtaposition (if you will) of showcasing something perceived as morbid and crossing this concept with elements of beauty. A selected number of my artists below have done just that using humour, flowers and even diamonds to not so subtly embellish an essentially macabre object associated with death and the human condition. I think they have achieved, each in their own way, a device to enable us to contemplate our respective fates in a surprising and strangely pleasurable way.
All works are on display in the gallery now.
Signed limited edition on paper, mounted and framed. (edition of 25)
Hyper Realism, Original Oil on Board
Signed limited edition on paper. Edition of just 50 and presented within a black card mount and modern black matt frame.
£200 (unframed) or £350 (framed)
The gallery is showcasing this beautiful edition as well as the original painting entitled ‘Origin of Symmetry’
Signed limited edition on paper. (edition of 50) Presented within a card mount and modern black gloss frame.
£700 (unframed) or £835 (framed)
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George Thornton Art