(Italian, b. 1952)
Oil and tempera on linen
Framed: 201.3 x 274.5 x 4.8 cm (79 1/4 x 108 1/16 x 1 7/8 in.); Unframed: 200.7 x 274.3 cm (79 x 108 in.)
Dorothea Wright Hamilton Fund 1993.164
© Francesco Clemente, Courtesy: Mary Boone Gallery, New York
Hinduism is the predominant religion in India, where Francesco Clemente has spent considerable time over the past two decades. In Oblation, which means a religious offering, he combines the simplified forms and large scale of contemporary western painting with elements of Hindu culture. The figure in the complicated pose at the top of the painting is practicing yoga, the physical and mental discipline that leads to the union of body and soul. The animals below symbolize some of the creative spiritual forces in Indian mythology. The elephant suggests wisdom and longevity; the cow may signifiy motherhood and purity; the horse often represents military power; and Varuna, the Hindu god of water, rides a crocodile. The mystical combination suggests the sacred harmony that results when humans show respect for animals.
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