Guardian Angel

Vygantas Paukštė1990

Modern Art Center / Modernaus Meno Centras

Modern Art Center / Modernaus Meno Centras

An artist of lyrically romantic scenarios, Vygantas Paukštė usually examines the relationships between man and woman, humans and nature.
Take a closer look at was is being portrayed in the 1990 work Guardian Angel. We see the blue expanse of slowly flowing water, the naked body of a floating woman, and the deep band of green on the shore. But this idyll is unexpectedly broken by something else. It is the figure of an angel that seems to resemble a mysterious and somewhat frightening shadow of the woman's body. Its movement is also indiscernible – leaning in toward the woman, it appears intent to kiss her or, perhaps, to look into her eyes... While the image of the woman is simplified, it is lush and sensual, while the angel's image seems almost unreal.
The painter never quite reveals to us his character's purpose. It remains unclear if this is truly an angel – even his yellow wing is casually pushed behind his back... This suggests that a guardian angel is an unknowable creature – one we can only see in moments of special silence, enlightenment, or in a dream...
We can also recognize in this painting the tragic character Ophelia from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Yet Paukštė's characteristic "childish" and playful stylization of human figures and the soft rendering of silhouettes interlaces joy with melancholy. The painter purposefully shuffles the cards: he portrays ritual and the sacred sphere naively and with a light jest, while conferring a magical spirit upon earthly life and the natural world.

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  • Title: Guardian Angel
  • Creator: Vygantas Paukštė
  • Date: 1990
  • Physical Location: Lithuania
  • Physical Dimensions: 80 x 110 cm
  • Medium: oil on canvas