Rubaiyat Thirty Five: Perfection And Necroamoria by Mark Sheeky

G173A Rubaiyat Thirty Five: Perfection And Necroamoria
Oil and gold on panel
Apr to Jun 2009, Size 658x400 mm

Detail from Rubaiyat Thirty Five: Perfection And Necroamoria by Mark Sheeky Detail from Rubaiyat Thirty Five: Perfection And Necroamoria by Mark Sheeky Detail from Rubaiyat Thirty Five: Perfection And Necroamoria by Mark Sheeky

About this painting
Painted for a Museum of Modern Art Wales Exhibition with the theme of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Any of the more than 70 four line poems (Rubaiyat) could have been selected so I used the random function on my calculator and number thirty five was chosen: I think the vessel, that with fugitive articulation answer'd, once did live, and merry-make; and the cold lip I kiss'd. How many kisses might it take - and give.

I interpreted the poem as love for a sculpture, and more explicitly the love of art, at once dead and living too, equated with religious love. Therefore the painting became about the love of art and the immortal love of that which is dead.

A painter stares with love at a woman emerging from a painting, yet she too is stone, and dead like all art. Organic embracing forms on the left indicate the rawest and most base of earthly passions, a memory perhaps? The painter transforms into a rose, touching the centre of a circle of gold leaf reminiscent of religions iconography. The bone crucifix indicates dead yet living religion.

Magic is contained here too as the painting is filled with the perfection of mathematics. The picture's width and height corresponds to the golden ratio and a hidden pentacle forms the central fulcrum of the composition in the vanishing points on the right. Perfect love then is immortal and necessarily for that which is dead; the love of mathematics then, or the love of God as mathematics.

Technical details
The painting began with the gold leaf application and that started with yellow underpaint in case fragments of gold were rubbed off. A red base colour was favoured in medieval times. The centre of the circle indicates the heart of the hidden pentacle. Trace the vanishing points of the tiles on the floor to locate two points of that star.

Rubaiyat Thirty Five: Perfection And Necroamoria
Private collection.