Last Christmas I worked on one of my largest artworks ever, “Gradale”.
It all started when I decided to test with some kind of brown varnishes dripping them over the wood thinking to create something to Mafer’s parents.
When I started dripping, the varnish took a figuration that make me feel a little bit confused. First of all I thought to start drawing a palm tree, but immediately later, I don’t know why, I thought about holy grail. Then, suddenly, something when you’re in the process of creation happened and my mind moved evruthing to that direction.
It was going to be something around the Holy Grail.
First thing came to my mind was about a very clean and white painting, but when I began, the combination of varnishes pushed me to move to brown colors (many times the artwork you’re working with says to you exactly what to do, not the contrary).
I started working just thinking to create one single piece. The piece (Gradale first pannel) can be defended as a single artwork itself. In fact, to be honest, since last minute painting was going to be hanged up in the wall I had the doubt to separate it or not. Final decission was taken by Roberto. This is it.
This first piece was done, mainly, with golden paints, marble dust, three different coloured volcanic sands and brown varnishes.
The word “GRADALE” is almost not understandable on the right side of the piece. “Gradale” is the ancient latin word related by Cistercian chronicler, Helinandus, over an hermit man explainig the meaning of the plate used by Jesus Christ in the Last Supper.
The three black stripes above, links this first part of painting to all the rest of artwork in a very simple way.
Once I decided to keep painting and create a second and a thrird part of the work, what I firstly decided, was to create under this circumstances, a three-panneled picture composing a triptych of 3 meters landscape or so.
Second and third part was painted at same time taking care of not become a different style to the feeling and meaning of first one. I started drawing a big cross in the middle of the second pannel, representing crucifixion. Third pannel was waiting for something in relation with The Last Supper.
In fact, palette of colours was inspired in Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, simplifying palette of colours to much more brown shapes.
The three crosses under the black curved line was included as kisses left to the rest of mortals from Jesus Christ, but once the piece was over, after place above the cross a piece of rope and straws (materials used by roman soldiers to fix Jesus Christ), the meaning took much more sense representing the three falls on his way to his crucifixion.
“Sic luceat lux vestra” written is the right last part of the painting it’s a latin sentence specially thought for the new owners of the artwork, Roberto and Elsa.
When they came to visit Mafer and me last christmas, they could be present in the final part of the painting process and then they decided to move this artwork to Logroño. They live there wall to wall to a church in a beautiful downtown sacred place, helping pilgrims in St. James way.
I thought it was a very good place to keep “Gradale” alive.
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