Elysian Fields (2008)
A big surrealistic oil painting. Surrealism – with Salvador Dali as exceptional example – always has drawn my attention. In the first decade of this millenium I was into surrealism all the way, before I experimented with cubism a decade later. Another example of my surrealist paintings is ‘Secret of the 50s (2007)’.
The painting is situated on the Elysian Fields, an existing spot near Nijmegen in Beek-Ubbergen, Gelerland, Nederland. It is a place I know well and when I walked there for the first time, back in 1980, with my parents, I was enchanted instantly. There is a great vibe that feels like coming home I cannot describe further. It is ancient and a bit of an oasis of tranquility, near the big city of Nijmegen. The view is from the northern and upper part of the fields, where there is a great vista over the Ooij Polder. In the back the church of Persingen (the smallest village of The Netherlands) is just visible.
Sage and the Moon
The main theme is centered in the painting and depicts me pointing at the moon, after a Chinese proverb: “When the sage points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger”. A little background to this story (quora.com)
Chan Buddhist scripture ‘Platform Sutra’.
Huineng (Chinese: 惠能; pinyin: Huìnéng, 638–713) was the Sixth and Last Patriarch of Chan Buddhism and he didn’t read Chinese or any other language. The story goes as one of his colleague monks had read the scripture of Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra for years and still didn’t get it.
Huìnéng askes her to read it to him and see if he can help explain. She laughs, you don’t even read and how can you understand? Huìnéng replies, “Truth has nothing to do with language. Truth is like Moon in the sky and language is like the finger that points to the moon. A finger can point out where the moon is, but the finger is not the truth. You can see the moon without help of any fingers, can you?”
Story loosely translated from 指月_百度百科
Unluckily no one has guessed the theme, at least did not tell me that they say it. I guess the proverb must be true and everybody still is looking at my finger (painting) only, not what it tries to convey.
The arm low left is my arm pointing for the moon too. The lamp I derived from Diogenes’ story, carying a lamp at daylight, looking for an honest man. In the night you cannot find them too.
Low left is a friend Angelique. Furthermore there are my esteemed former colleague Arnoud, folding his hands devoutely, my neighbour Addy and pope Benedict XVI, alias Joseph Ratzinger in casual clothting.
The second ambition was to do a night painting like Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh one time, just to have a look if I could pull it off. There are lots of blue complementing the scarce orange lights. The light source in the group is blocked by an arm, a trick I learned from Rembrandt.
Oil on wood panel (162 x 92 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers
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