Judith Slaying Holofernes (after Artemisia Gentileschi) 2014
24 x 30.57"

Archangel Michael Defeating Satan (after Guido Reni) 2015
24.61 x 36" 

David with the Head of Goliath (after Caravaggio) 2015
24.7 x 30.6"

The Sacrifice of Isaac (after Rembrandt van Rijn) 2015
23.34 x 34.28"

Christ Crowned with Thorns (after Gerard van Honthorst) 2015
24 x 20.85" 


It initially began as simply defacing religious baroque paintings with cartoons in order to make them more relatable to modern viewers. Though throughout the paintings it has become clear that there is also a battle waging between “high culture” realism and “low culture” cartoons.

Realism appears to be the ruling class, but contact with a cartoon ignites the transformation from full rendering to black outlines and flat colors. In the beginning, the cartoon character plays a small role or is regarded as the enemy. But by the end the world is completely inhabited by them. Even the embodiments of good and evil now look like they walked out of a children’s show.

The cartoon styles used all emphasize certain features, making them look more crude and deformed but also more powerful. They are attention grabbing and merciless when it comes to destroying realism. Even when they are depicted as the heroes, they appear more as invaders sought on total control and that assimilation and acceptance are the only options for the original inhabitants, realism. Low culture is the new high culture for a new age.

I took five biblical paintings by different artists and reproduced them in Adobe Illustrator. The qualities I looked for when choosing the paintings was dramatic lighting and composition and who the cast of characters in the story were. I chose only paintings that depicted stories of violence, which all the more invokes the war between styles. By also using religious works, a narrative of being witness to the creation of a new world order is created. The pieces were printed on canvas and hung in a procession from the beginning to end of the conflict.
© thea stevens 2019