Old Master in Photography: Appreciating Classic Work with Fresh Eyes

The value of classic artworks never depreciate even as time passes by. Timeless masterpieces constantly offer inspiration to the creation of new artworks. In the recent exhibition at The Arts and Cultural Festival in Macao, Hong Kong artist Yiu Chi Leung presents a series of old master-inspired photos. Let us take a look at the new incarnations of these all-time classics.

Salvator Mundi, created by Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), was sold for US$450m at Christie’s New York last year and set the record for the most expensive artwork. In the painting, Jesus holds a crystal orb in his left hand as he raises his right hand in benediction, symbolizing protection and good fortune.

The next three are all works by Italian Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness is an oil painting that tells the story of John the Baptist from the Gospel. John, the cousin of Jesus, lived in the wilderness and was frequently shown in Christian art with his bowl, reed cross, camel’s skin and lamb. Saint John the Baptist is a popular subject matter in old master works.

Besides John the Baptist, Saint Francis’ life of poverty and humility was also a popular subject in Caravaggio’s age. Saint Francis in Meditation shows Saint Francis holding a skull in his hands in a gloomy and arid scenery. He is meditating about death. Next to him is a wooden cross, an allusion to the passion of Christ.

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas portrays a scene from the St John's Gospel. In the Gospel it says, 'A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"'

Coming next are two paintings by French Baroque painter Georges de La Tour (1593-1652). Created in 1645, Joseph the Carpenter depicts a young Jesus with his earthly father, Saint Joseph. Joseph, drilling a piece of wood with an auger, looks anxious while the boy Jesus is holding a candle with a strong light reflected on his face. Here Chris is compared to the light of the world who came to save people in the darkness.

Georges de La Tour (1593-1652)’s Saint Jerome Reading uses Saint Jerome as the subject matter. Saint Jerome, a priest and historian, is best known for translating most of the Bible into Latin. The translation became known as the Vulgate. Jerome's letters, characterized by the great variety of their subjects and by their qualities of style, form an important portion of his literary remains.

Other exhibits

Alter Ego|Encounter in Macao – Arts and Cultural Festival between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries|The Other

Date: July 8 - September 9, 2018
Location: Macao Old Court Building
Address: 459 Av. da Praia Grande
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (closed on Mondays)
Admission fee: free
Enquiries: 853 8399 6699