Little Prince

Published on 23 December 2023 at 22:15

Medium: Watercolor

Date: 2023


Little Prince


This artwork captivates both my daughter and me, sparking curiosity about its inherent appeal. It bears resemblance to the rare kneeling figures crafted in white marble by the ancient Greeks and Romans, albeit with a modern twist of a painted mask.


This fusion of eras not only enchants with its beauty but also challenges our perception of antiquity, as the modern mask adds a layer of contemporary identity to the timeless form. The enigmatic expression, originally left blank to represent universal humanity, is now given specificity and a touch of whimsy. This blending of old and new invites a reconsideration of historical art forms, as it seems to suggest that even the most classical of artworks can be reimagined and revitalized for the modern eye.


The pose of this figure has inspired photographers and painters alike, notably in the acclaimed work by Elihu Vedder from around 1890, now housed in the Brooklyn Museum. I happened to be given the opportunity to manage the publicity of Vedder's exhibition at the said museum 45 years ago. This interest deepened upon discovering similar figures in periodicals of that era. The figure’s solidity and rounded form, reminiscent of a boulder, particularly resonated with me.

In my rendition, the figure’s body remains unpainted, akin to ancient sculptures whose original colors have faded over time. This choice reflects a Renaissance-era fascination with white marble statues, a tradition extending to contemporary sculptors.

However, unlike its ancient counterparts, this figure’s face is vividly painted to express deep emotion. The stark red and blue hues convey power, while the asymmetrically positioned eyes inject a sense of humor.

A bright yellow background bathes the figure in light, symbolizing optimism. The luminous yellow hue not only encapsulates the figure in a halo of warmth but also alludes to the golden hour of Renaissance painting, a time when light was used to define and elevate subjects.

Additionally, I have incorporated a reference to male fertility, echoing the explicit representation found in many ancient statues. The inclusion of this symbolism, while provocative, is a bold statement on the continuity of life and art's role in celebrating the generative forces of nature.


The deliberate preservation of the figure's purity in the body creates a striking visual contrast with the painted face, emphasizing the blend of the classical form with the emotive potential of color. The decision to maintain the body in its unpainted state underscores my intention to portray the permanence of the human form. The unadorned body figure, while classical in its presentation, serves as a canvas to explore the theme of sexuality in its myriad expressions. The figure's form, evoking the natural curves and lines of the human body, invites contemplation on the diversity and fluidity of human sexuality. It stands as a testament to the enduring human fascination with the physical form as a vehicle for expressing desire, intimacy, and identity.

The variegated hues adorning the figure's visage not only represent the spectrum of emotions but also symbolize the ambivalence and doubt many face in acknowledging and embracing their sexuality. The interplay of colors serves as a metaphor for the complex and often non-linear journey toward self-acceptance, reflecting the internal conflict between societal norms and personal truth. The mask's transient palette, contrasting with the statue's timeless form, underscores the ephemerality of these emotional states — a reminder that feelings of uncertainty are but temporary shadows over the enduring human experience. 

In this way, I hope that the artwork becomes a bridge connecting the viewer to the broader discourse on sexuality, challenging and expanding upon the historical perspectives traditionally represented in visual arts. In the process, it becomes a silent yet powerful ally in the dialogue about the acceptance of one's sexual identity, challenging viewers to confront their own vulnerabilities and the societal constructs that shape them.


As I draw this blog to a close, the interwoven themes of this piece stand as a living embodiment of the principles that drive my artistic journey. "Complexity, Dichotomy, Unity"—this triad resonates through each stroke of color and every untouched surface of my medium, marrying the intricate layers of human emotion with the stark simplicity of form.

In the silent dialogue between viewer and painting, space is created for personal introspection and societal observation, where the echoes of past narratives meet the pulse of present identities.

With this piece, it is my aspiration that you, too, might find a personal echo within its composition, discovering a harmonious resonance that speaks to the shared complexities of our human experience.


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