Cecil Edwin Frans Skotnes (South African, 1926-2009)
'Leftovers from Herod's Table' signed and dated 'C Skotnes / 95' (lower left) painting on incised panel 122 x 97.4cm (48 1/16 x 38 3/8in). within original artist's frame
PROVENANCE: Acquired directly from the artist by the current owner
A similar work by the same title is illustrated in Dubow (1996, p.125, no.6.11, & p.236).
The son of missionaries, Skotnes is well known for his religious art and numerous mural commissions for churches. The present lot echoes his 1995 commission, The Last Supper at the Institute for Catholic Education, Waterkloof, Pretoria. Both these Biblical stories (the Last Supper and the Beheading of John the Baptist) have long been favourites of painters:
"Skotnes' [sic] handling of it relates directly to the iconographic tradition established in the Middle Ages and refined in the Renaissance. It sits comfortably within this mainstream tradition. Yet at the same time it is a fresh and direct statement in its own right, and testament to the artist's own painterly regeneration."
The horror of the beheading alluded to in the present lot is juxtaposed with a particularly fine still life:
"In a sense the still life elements are part of a stylised domestic landscape disposed on a horizontal plane. They constitute a high moment in Skotnes' maturity which is at once hushed, filled with a painterly quietude, and absolutely controlled. These elements have been developed and incorporated in...Left-overs from Herod's table."
BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. Dubow, 'Landscapes of the Mind', in F. Harmsen (ed.), Cecil Skotnes, (Cape Town, 1996)