Matthew Greenburgh: Assumption

Japanese maple - Acer palmatum

120x231cm- edition of 4 plus artist's proof
60x116cm - edition of 5

The Assumption of the Virgin is a popular choice for artists as a powerful way of conveying the beauty of death for the sinless: the prospect of Heaven should mitigate the effect of the suffering experienced in life. I also want the title to point to the dual meaning of the word assumption: the Christian view of death depends on the assumption, inter alia, that there is a God in Heaven.

Assumption paintings were a good way of filling a vertical space behind an altar and I have adopted the upward rising flow of an Assumption painting. I also hope, through the minimalist style, lacquer-like look and Japanese maple leaves, to make a connection with Japanese Buddhism's assumptions about what can happen after death. Simplifying greatly, there is a prospect of a heaven-like destination (the Pure Land) but the ultimate objective is to achieve Nirvana where any sense of self is quenched.






Next Leaf


The Assumption of The Virgin, Nicolas Poussin, c1632


Maple Leaves, Shibata Zeshin, 19th Century

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